Fox & Woman formed at street poetry gatherings in San Francisco’s Mission District. Their 2013 release, This Side Dawn, is gentle; lilting violin and tight female harmonies from Jess Silva and Emily Halton — who occasionally sing in Portuguese — mix with intricate and delicate guitar playing.
Popdose.com says, “One can easily hear connections to The Jefferson Airplane and It’s A Beautiful Day, and more recently, Fleet Foxes and Devotchka.” But I disagree — mostly. The track “Stay” is definitely a quiet, folky little tune. And “Belly of a Whale (Side B)” takes hard right turns into groovy harpsichord and la-la-la-doobie-doo-wah diversions that absolutely reek of sandalwood and pot smoke.
But just as often, odd — almost prog-rock inspired — time signatures abound. And while the guitars are sometimes soft, accompanied by mandolin, they’re also tense, electric and atmospheric a la U2, like in the two-parter “Belly of a Whale (Side A)” and “(Side B),” or the album-opener, “Learn to Speak Mandarin.”
And other times, Fox & Woman downright rock out — “W. Village” is urban and moody, segueing into an aggressive and overdriven bridge. There’s a lot on This Side Dawn that has more to do with the postmodern angst of Radiohead, or the Nordic aloofness of Stereolab, than with flower power and tie-dye.
Fox & Woman play with Split Screens 8:30 pm Thursday, June 13, at Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove; $5.