KJ & THE FOX is the glimmering, shimmering indie project of Keith Johns Adams, who’s been releasing fun and beguiling, raw ‘n’ folksy indie tunesmithery for a while now as just himself (check out “Roughhousing”, which pitches itself at a lovely point partway between Billy Bragg and Hefner).
He’s now happily ensconced with the his band The Fox, and they’re set to release their second single, “Never Gone Hill”, via the offices of Vacilando ‘68/Functional Electric on December 4th. And we’re lucky people here at Backseat Mafia to get the chance to premiere the video for this selfsame pop nugget, a bluesy indie shuffle with a hummable breeziness. Take yourself down to the bottom of the page and have a watch.
The Fox, KJ’s vulpine musicians, are bassist Rhodri Marsden (formerly of Article 54 and Scritti Politti), drummer Tom Haines and guitarist Chris Branch. They all laid down their parts in separate studios during lockdown, as they did with the rush of the preceding single, “Perfect Moments”.
Despite that bright acoustic strut of a tune, there’s a little weary wisdom going on lyrically in “Never Gone Hill”, as the song touches on life, rule one: this too shall pass, whether good or bad. It’s all, essentially, ephemeral, as the hook says “It’s fun to hold on to a feeling a while … but not for too long.”
And what of this mythic Never Gone Hill itself? Singer KJ explains: “I started writing this song on a campsite in Kent called Nethergong Hill, but as I was dictating lyrics into my phone it autocorrected the words to Never Gone Hill, which I liked. So the song is partially written by my phone, I suppose.
“The campsite has a pond which was bursting with frogs when I was there, and my kids caught some in a bucket, which I had to explain to them we couldn’t keep.
“So that’s the idea of the song – that you have to enjoy things, moments, life … then let it go.”
KJ says of the accompanying visuals: “This is our second lockdown video, and it’s a bit of an expression of what was allowed.
“We’re outside, not sitting close, and there’s a fire which we used to sterilise the instruments afterwards.
“Look out for the cow during Chris’s epic guitar solo. I’m telling people it’s a reference to the cow in Apocalypse Now … but actually that’s a lie.”
The band, comin’ atcha out of he East London, have set out a manifesto to release a string of one-off singles until their first full LP has assembled itself. Don’t be too long in coming, chapter III.