The Stone Foxes: Twelve Spells

Cracking songs but an unfortunate lack of cohesion.

The Stone Foxes Twelve Spells artwork

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Four albums in and this San Francisco Bay Area quintet (this week anyway; it can vary) are still trying to nail a coherent identity for their indie blues. They’re getting closer with their vibrant, discordant riffs, roaring vocals and a succession of meaty hooks, occasionally broken up by a subtler approach when they sidle up to your side rather than pummelling you in the chest.

But each song is a stand-alone affair. In fact the band has deliberately released 12 of the 13 tracks as a single over the past year. Nothing wrong with that: stompers such as Eye For Love, This Town, She Said Riot and seductive teasers like Cold Like A Killer, Jericho and Greasin’ Up The Doorman are fine individual songs. But it means that Twelve Spells feels more like a compilation than an album.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.