In the fall of 2018, Foxing released its third album, Nearer My God, to nearly universal critical acclaim. called it “an artful leap toward creating the new sound of rafter-
shaking indie rock,” and it scored the group a coveted NPR “Tiny Desk Concert” in addition to opening slots for internationally renowned acts. It was a triumph for the band that began humbly playing local rock clubs in St. Louis nearly eight years ago.

“This record has really allowed us to do some wild things,” says lead singer and songwriter Conor Murphy. “We went to Australia for the first time, and we just did this European tour where we were playing these massive festivals.”

A major factor in the album’s success, and a facet that every review was quick to note, was the album’s ambitious nature. In addition to the band’s core members—Ricky Sampson, Eric Hudson, Jon Hellwig, and Murphy—Nearer My God also included saxophones, violins, bagpipes, and expert production from Chris Walla, the Grammy-nominated member of Death Cab For Cutie. On top of the rich, layered musical compositions, the group also crafted their most meaningful, thoughtful lyrics to date, all in service of one complex, dark, and often hopeful theme.

From the outset, Biblical scholars and history buffs might know what they’re getting into. The album’s title is an allusion to the hymn “Nearer, My God, To Thee,” which is the song that the orchestra played as the Titanic sank. It’s the “CNN doomsday tape” music, as Conor puts it, and that’s exactly what this anthemic, impassioned, and multifaceted album attempts to tackle: the idea of the apocalypse—a universal yet personal fear.

From kindergarten through high school, Murphy attended Catholic schools. He was raised with stories from Revelations and frightening imagery of hell. Today, while reading the bleak reports of the effects of climate change, that imagery has resurfaced in his lyrical writing. He tries to process the possibility of seeing the world end—an admittedly depressing subject.

“To make a whole album about the apocalypse is absurd; who would want to listen to that?” he says, laughing and then immediately returning to sincere candor. “But even if we are hurtling toward the end of the world, that doesn’t mean we need to stop living our lives, finding love in each other. It’s a matter of holding onto the people we care about and making the most of the time we have.”

He adds, “We made something we really love. Now we have to put a lot of effort in to follow it, and that’s awesome. Each record is a step toward something more sincere.”

Conor says that Missouri is home, and St. Louis is what helped the band form their early sound. However, getting outside the state and playing to new audiences is what helped the band strive for greater creative success.

“You really gain perspective,” he says. “If you’re a small speck in the grand scheme of things, why don’t you just try, as much as you can, to grow and to make something different? When we were just playing locally, we tried to sound like other bands we liked at the time. Now, it’s our goal to sound unlike any other band. Even if we fall short, the attempt is the important part.”

This winter, the band is embarking on another national tour, this time opening for Manchester Orchestra.

See them December 14th at Delmar Hall in St. Louis with Tonina and Jr. Clooney.