By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
In Buddhism, a Foe Destroyer is one who achieves Nirvana and is no longer subject to rebirth. That's a strange name for a band born only a month ago in the wake of Oso Closo's breakup, not to mention one that boasts fewer than a dozen songs to its name.
Then again, a Foe Destroyer could also just be someone who kicks people's asses. That reading may be what this new Denton outfit is going for.
Consisting of four-fifths of Oso Closo, a popular fixture in the Denton scene over the past few years, it's hard to see why Foe Destroyer would even need to exist in light of the success and popularity of its parent band.
"That's a good question," admits guitarist Danny Garcia. The primary reason he gives is that creative control of Oso Closo was placed almost exclusively on the shoulders of lead singer Adrian Hulet and guitarist Chris McQueen. McQueen admits that as much was the case: The old band, he says, had a leader. This new project, which sees the rest of Oso Closo moving forward without Hulet, takes a more democratic songwriting approach.
Garcia, however, is less diplomatic: "I wanted to sing," he says. "I didn't want to start a side band."
Already, the move is paying off—at least for Foe Destroyer's members. Says drummer Ryan Jacobi: "I feel more connected to this music than I did to any of the Oso Closo music because I'm part of the ground floor process."
And make no mistake: Foe Destroyer is not Oso Closo. Though the four-piece is uncomfortable with placing a genre on its sound, it does seem eager to lose the jazz-rock label it had as Oso Closo.
"That's such a different approach than what we really are," bassist Andy Rogers says.
Indeed, the deletion of Hulet and his piano has made the band turn from its contemplative and soulful identity.
"The songs are shorter, they're faster, there's not a guitar solo in every song," Jacobi says.
It helps that, in effect, there are now four songwriters. The songs are still new, sure, but the band seems to feel a certain joy in having songs with a raw quality—ones that don't need layer after layer of instrumentation.
That's not to say this band is more simplistic than its predecessor, though. Judging from the small sampling of tunes Foe Destroyer churned up amidst a furious and necessary month-long songwriting storm, the group is simply taking a more lo-fi approach toward its new project.
That may change, but for now it'll have to do: Foe Destroyer already has 16 gigs lined up through June 16.
On that level, at least, being born from Oso Closo certainly can't have hurt.