I’m Not Well, the 2016 debut from Exeter’s Black Foxxes, was uncomfortably raw. Amid its visceral, fuzzed-up riffs, frontman/guitarist Mark Holley bared his struggles with anxiety and Crohn’s disease with brutal candour. On new album Reiði, however, the alt.rock trio have tentatively let in the light. Tracks like Manic In Me and Saela (translation: ‘blessed’) are airy and poppy, imbued with a sense of hope that peeks cautiously through open fingers.
Inspired by Icelandic landscapes, this is a stark, but gentle record that nods to Alice In Chains’ Jar Of Flies album, simultaneously evoking tenderness and desperation. Despite the pull of dark undercurrents, Holley’s catharsis is clearest on opener Breathe where he sings like a man talked down from the ledge.
If their debut was dependent on painkillers, Reiðl is the sound of a band beginning to heal.