Foxes In Fiction’s 2014 album Ontario Gothic is the kind of record you turn to in moments when grief comes to visit and sit a spell.
Grief and loss are cyclical. They come to us at inopportune times, at moments when we least expect or welcome them. But I firmly believe that each reoccurrence of a painful memory is our soul’s way of trying to further heal the original wound and strengthen the scars we’ve already formed. Regardless of the proverbs, it would be presumptuous to assume there will come a time when our wounds are fully mended because that would mean that grief itself is finite.
I imagine that’s what it’s like for Warren Hildebrand, who records under the name Foxes In Fiction, every time he revisits Ontario Gothic, his second full length (originally released late in the summer of 2014, being re-pressed on vinyl this summer on his label, Orchid Tapes). Hildebrand uses Foxes In Fiction as a means of offering comfort through the healing power of music, in much the same way he found solace in certain music while grieving the loss of his younger brother, who died in 2008.
The songs on Ontario Gothic pulse in and out of focus like forgotten memories. Each note, each chord sparks a new neural connection. Hildebrand’s flickering synths at the start of “Into The Fields” could soundtrack a reel of dusty home movies. Elsewhere, simple elements are employed to maximize the music’s emotional impact. Whether it’s the gently weeping wail of violin that Owen Pallett lends to “Shadow’s Song” or the dreamlike, whispered chorus of voices on album closer “Altars,” Ontario Gothic is profuse with powerful sonic imagery.
Coupled with Hildebrand’s simple, poetic lyrics (“What if I become / What I left behind / Still I glow”), the seven songs on Ontario Gothic offer an unexpected intimacy and tenderness to listeners. I first discovered the album in January 2015, a few months after the death of a dear great aunt. Though removed from the initial pangs of grief, the record’s warm embrace was greatly welcomed at the time. Ontario Gothic is the kind of record you turn to in those moments when grief and loss come to visit and sit a spell. And while I do not wish those circumstances upon anyone, it’s nice to know that Foxes In Fiction will be there when you need them.