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The Stone Foxes: Twelve Spells

Racket from the crypt.

Considerate enough to have made most of this album available free to download, San Francisco’s Stone Foxes prove to be a far more attractive proposition than their catchall name suggests.

They don’t bother disguising their influences. Opener Eye For Love is a parody of Kings Of Leon, but it’s a good one; the relentlessly boisterous I Want To Be You takes on a host of identities during a chanted harmony section. But if lots of this album could be a join-the-dots puzzle (Mott The Hoople, Stones, Yardbirds), the exercise is still an enjoyable one.

Highly accomplished, well produced and lacking pretension, these Foxes manage to update the garage-rock-sale sound and don’t often drag their feet. Cold Like A Killer isn’t particularly unpleasant; rather it jerks one along like a recalcitrant beast brought to heel.

N.Y.T. (New York Talk) is a dead ringer for the Dolls messed up by Big Star (excellent riffs). And they can do classic country too: My Place has a southern gothic clout; Count Me As One is a polite backhanded compliment to Jerry Garcia (well, they are from Frisco). Cut some slack, their spells work. And Denis Leary likes them, apparently.

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.