Even if the stylistic comparison is limited, chillwave and not folktronica, dreampop and not electronica influences, Foxes in Fiction, aka William Hildebrand, from Toronto, starts where Khonnor seemed to have disappeared after his album “Handwriting”.
Yet “Swung from the branches” is more a compilation in two parts, more a mixtape than a coherent and massive album.
The first side seems like a personal lo-fi, warm, sensitive and intimate take on a style of music once created by artists like William Basinski, Labradford, Hammock, Rafael Toral or The Stars of the Lid. Nine songs flowing into each other, like a long dream of 32 minutes. On “Coffee cups that won't break down” he adds beats and a layer of processed vocals and the whole atmosphere brings to mind This Mortail Coil circa “filigree & shadow”. “Cream Screen” features processed and reverberated field recordings taken on a street, among those, the sounds of an ice cream car, nothing truly spectacular but a welcome breath. “8 / 29 / 91” is build around a spoken word by Charles Bukowski. The four first tracks are the most interesting part of this first half. Globally if there is nothing spectacular, but Warren Hildebrand succeeds in creating a sensitive sketch where you'll feel relieved.
The transition track, “ Mialectric” is a self-sufficient experimental filler and opens a second side full of melodic dreampop songs or ghost of songs like opener “Bronte Balloon”, landing not far from a more ambient Secret Cities (aka The White Foliage). “New Panic Cure” is a first gem, intimate dreampop song floating in a sea of reverb and summer light, yet with melancholic vocals and a melody for rainy days. Lighter and more playful, “Jimi Bleachball” is a delicate song between chillwave and dreampop.
But already “Please note” goes in another direction, fragile and intimate with an acoustic guitar and whispered vocals. “Snow Angels”, admittedly inspired by the music of Twin Peaks recorded by Angelo Badalamenti, as got an absurd blurry quality, like dancers moving slowly while snow is falling.
“15 Ativan (Song for Erika)” has got urgency and a moving quality that provide a sense of freshness, like going outside through the night in the cold air. “To Go Home” is another weird druggy trip à la This Mortal Coil, which opens for the marvelous and addictive “Memory Pools”.
The next three tracks of this album are instrumentals (the third one is a CD bonus), where we return to the quieter and darker first side of this album, with both feelings of appeasement and crude lucidity.
The CD version features two more pop songs, both are totally wonderful. On “5-HTP” the melancholic vocals and the guitar are prominent and envelops you like a warm coat while crossing an icy landscape. “Flashing Lights Have Ended Now” could be the single of the album and has got a dreamy quality à la Trembling Blue Stars.
“Swung from the Branches” is a strong album which surpasses an exiguity of style. Foxes in Fiction is slowly laying the ground of his burgeoning expression, creating himself along the way.