Chicago's only Burlesque Rock N' Roll Band
For any band, it's terrifyingly easy to get lost in the shuffle, especially in a city as vast as Chicago. Setting yourself apart, or even finding kinship with other like-minded acts, are tough tasks with all the booking and promotion that needs to be done. But from the start, it seems The Fox & The Hounds have never had such issues. Self-billed as "Chicago's only burlesque rock n' roll band," the area sextet create seductive and sensual sounds with elements of high-drama classic rock, baroque chamber pop and cabaret-style performance. There truly is nothing like them in the Windy City, and upon the release of their debut album, they're well on their way to making their mark.
Lead vocalist and songwriter Kendel Lester, who has worked with Styx's Dennis DeYoung, wraps each song in a flamboyant, commanding coo as she's backed by a small army of top-notch performers mixing dark themes with the whimsy of a Broadway musical. Rounded out by bassist Ira Ochs, vocalist/keyboardist Sam Crossland, guitarist Steve Howe, violinist/vocalist Kara Poe and drummer Tony Panico, the band has a countless array of genres and feels to pull from, and The Fox & The Hounds' self-titled debut album reflects this at every turn. The driving "Gypsy Fever" creates a world where a powerful act like Heart can shake hands and play nice with today's folk-pop of Beirut, whereas the five-minute running time "Nothing Left to Lose" allows the song to morph from hushed piano ballad to thunderous orchestral rock, climaxing in the kind of unrelenting group vocals that have attracted fans of Arcade Fire. The album is sure to entice listeners of all ages and musical backgrounds, which when you consider how so many Chicago bands seemed chained to their genre, is no small feat. For a debut, it's even more impressive.
"However you feel about the musical out-put, it is not possible to be other than appreciative of the – bravado, dexterity and abilities displayed by the talent within The Fox & Hounds. So it is with some confidence that I recommend setting aside your musical foibles and raise with me a glass to the sextet for doing what they do and adding much to the world of music."
-Indie Bands Blog
"You just know by the line-up and instruments this is no usual proffering and it was with some interest I hit play and even more delightfully The Fox & The Hounds is not some random collection of players, but a well honed out-fit. The compositions, which have a theatrical feel aurally, are cleverly composed, indicating within this collection there are some highly inventive minds and equally as importantly they deliver complexities with ease, which enables the listener to sit engrossed in the out-put."
- Indie Bands Blog
"The Fox & The Hounds! Blasting out of the Chicago scene with a unique vibe and style separating the sea of stagnant monotony with a mingling mix of alternative rock and pop/jazz."
"The Fox & The Hounds are a rock band that combines influences such as women-led rock acts like Heart and Garbage, jazz, and chamber pop with the risqué visuals of burlesque to create a unique musical experience...I suggest listening to The Fox & The Hounds. You might discover a new band that you’ll love...Some the most original music I have heard in quite some time. I hear hundreds of releases every year and its difficult to stand out. This band stands out with a unique blend of genres and fine musicianship."
- Muzik Reviews (Mar 16, 2013)
"Why we love it: Lester’s powerful voice soars above the jazzy atmosphere created by horns and saxes in her band, and it is evident that she controls and commands her sound with an effortless confidence."
- Local Loop
"Sex-fueled and high energy, Lester and her band create a massive wall of burlesque goodness."
- Local Loop
"Kendel Lester – the vocalist – has a nice fluid way of signing that seduces you and makes you wanting more. All their songs have this easiness to them. Nothing seems forced or done for the sake of adding an element."
- Language of Mankind
"Ripping away her hat to reveal long flowing blonde hair, The Fox & The Hounds lead singer, Kendel Lester, wastes no time letting you know she’s on stage and ready to work at least two, if not more, of your five senses. Gazing upon the skin-tight, tattered, burlesque-inspired dress it’s no wonder the subject matter in the songs to follow consists mainly of temptation and mystery, but definitely not regret. I have never been suffocated with passion quite like this."
- Brendan Shanley, Lost In Concert
""As is typical of the F&H, no note will go un-grooved, no jaw left un-dropped, no ass will be left un-kicked! This is a show that, if missed, will be regretted until your final breath!""
- Scott Williams, Assisant Director of Great Lakes Navy Band
"The Fox & The Hounds have a great, unique sound that never fails to surprise. They have a great blend of styles and an incredible stage presence. These people know how to put on a show!"
- Luke Heiden, Filament Theatre Ensemble
"Kendel Lester is a diva we can all reminisce about one day..."
- SteadStyle Chicago