London-based indie pop duo the Proper Ornaments formed in 2005 when James Hoare, guitarist for Veronica Falls, met up with Argentinian musician Max Clapps in a women's clothing store. The two bonded over a mutual love of the Velvet Underground, Love, the Left Banke, and the Beach Boys. Their sound also gathered in elements of classic U.K. indie pop with plenty of languidly jangling guitars. After planning and playing when they could due to Hoare's busy schedule, and adding a full band (drummer Ralph Phillips, bassist Michael Lovett, and Let's Wrestle's Wesley Patrick Gonzalez), they released their first single, "Recalling," for the San Francisco label Make a Mess in 2010. They followed it up with an eponymous five-song EP for No Pain in Pop in 2011 and, in 2013, a single ("Waiting for the Summer") for Lo Recordings, who then released all their output to date on a collection (also titled Waiting for the Summer) later that year. After signing up with Fortuna POP! in the U.K. and Slumberland in the U.S., the Proper Ornaments returned with their home-recorded debut album, Wooden Head, in the early summer of 2014. The duo added drummer Robert Syme and bassist Daniel Nellis for live shows.
Both Hoare and Clapps, who was now going by the name Max Oscarnold, went their separate ways after the album to work on different projects. Oscarnold joined the Brighton psych-pop group TOY as their keyboard player and Hoare worked with Mazes' Jack Cooper on the band Ultimate Painting. When the two got back together to begin work on the second full-length Proper Ornaments album in 2015, they were joined by Nellis and Syme in the studio. Unfortunately, the process proved both a mechanical failure, as the tape machine ended up breaking and ruining their work, and a rather acrimonious experience that tested their friendship. After a cooling-off period, the group decamped to Hoare's home studio and re-recorded the songs in a more relaxed fashion. The resulting album, titled Foxhole, was co-released by Tough Love and Slumberland in early 2017. ~ Tim Sendra