Fox Van Cleef | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Fox Van Cleef 

CD Release Party Friday Aug. 6 at Burt's Tiki Lounge

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Crawling out of the depths of the Ogden music scene, Fox Van Cleef took the art of the quintet rock group—long trendy and near-dead since the 1980s—and created a unique sound and live presentation that’s set them apart from many of the rockers making their way around the Utah music scene. But, the current incarnation of the group was not easy to build, and it took the band’s members more than three years to perfect before releasing any music to the public.

Formed during the members’ high school years, the group started when original members Chase Baur, Dustin Bessire and Jesse Hodshire met through a video-production class. The trio decided to start a band in the spring of 2006. After playing together off and on and booking gigs for roughly a year, the band ran into Matt Froling, who was playing guitar in another band at the time. They asked him to join, and at the same show the group met Spencer Reed, who would end up playing keyboards on their first record. Nearly 18 months later, the group met and acquired Erich Newey—at the time singing in Intimachine—as their new keyboardist. It wasn’t long before they realized how well everything jelled.

“For a few years now, most of us, and for some of us much longer, have all been close friends that have lived together, laughed together and loved drinking together,” says Bessire. “So, really, what it boils down to, it was just meant to be that the five of us would mesh those things with our love for music.”

Pulling their vocal style from classic blues and soul music, the group mixed it up with ’70s psychedelic-rock and hip-hop beats to create their unique sound. Mixing in old-school recording techniques with modern song structure, every song introduces a totally different experience while incorporating every member as an essential part.

In 2007, the group released a four-song self-titled EP and quickly found a following, and in 2009, the group released their first album, Cigarettes, Terrorism, Etc. The band recorded the album in sporadic sessions, starting before Newey had officially joined the group. When the band first entered the studio, they had no idea it would be nearly a year before the results would be released on account of an injury Hodshire experienced, putting the band out of commission for several months. When the album finally hit the local scene, Fox Van Cleef garnered serious airplay with the single “Lies,” not to mention a steady following, thanks to playing every venue from Ogden to Provo.

Rather than kick back and enjoy the album’s success, the band re-entered the studio to work on their third release, an EP titled Pleasure Junkies. The album itself, while keeping the same stylistic feel, is a completely different take on the band’s musical senses; take, for example, the track “Red,” which starts off with a ripping vocal line that begs the crowd to scream along, followed by the plicking riff carried out through the entire track. That song seamlessly blends in with the kicking beat of “Dance of the Dead” for a bouncy, catchy headbanger.

Still keeping their own Fox Van Cleef sound while penning works that approach “anthem” status, the EP serves as a fine reminder to musicians that they can keep their identity while continuing to grow as artists.

Following the CD release this week, the band will make the rounds throughout the Wasatch Front before heading on tour, starting with Seattle in early September, continuing their busy schedule and attempting to branch out nationwide. 

Burt’s Tiki Lounge
726 S. State
Friday, Aug. 6
9 p.m.

w/ Bluebird Radio
Salt Lake City Main Library
210 E. 400 South
Tuesday, Aug. 10
7 p.m.

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