Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Album Review- Voxtrot


Every one of Voxtrot’s songs have been a self contained gem; a stand alone performance that’ll either break your heart or make you dance. The band’s discography contains only three EP’s, which is enough to be enamored by the hearts of the musically aware and gather a dedicated fan base. However, EP’s tend to be like cookies. They can be amazing, sweet, and no matter how full you are you want more. Though just as you could never sustain yourself fully on cookies, a band would be hard to survive solely on EP’s. You need a meal. And like a good meal, an album should be savory and sweet, hardy, something that you can dig your teeth into. This is the best way that I can describe and justify the difference between Voxtrot’s previous releases and their full length debut Voxtrot. It’s food that is different, sometimes startling, though it is clearly made by the same chef, and is just as tasty.

The band is smart enough to ease you into this difference. The first track titled “Introduction” is simultaneously an introduction to their album and an introduction towards a new and slightly more grown up Voxtrot. The song’s swelling strings and guitar “intro” are very much like the Voxtrot that we fell in love with. It’s a beautiful song that captures the essence and charm of the band. Ramesh Srivastava’s lovingly fey and sweet voice carries an energy and punch that highlights his signature “remember when” lyrics.

While the sound of the album is overall more “rock and roll” than previous works, the heartbreak of cello’s can still be heard lifting up Ramesh’s melody. Such is the case in the gem “Ghost”. Pounding waves of piano and drums accompanied by swelling strings and sweet noises hold Ramesh’s increasingly clever wordplay afloat. His lyrics tend to be like short stories and he ventures to use some interesting and sometimes intentionally awkward rhymes and word rhythms a la Stuart Murdoch, matching sounds and consonants rather than perfectly fitting couplets.

Voxtrot also juxtaposes a distinct tone of aggression with the sweetness of earlier songs; both lyrically and in the music. “Stephen” is an easy, fairly straight ahead love song (either fraternal or romantic…you be the judge) that is deceivingly the most traditional Voxtrot song on the album, crooning right from the start, “Stephen I love you, I can’t grow past you.” In contrast, the band rocks out on “Brother in Conflict” while Ramesh shouts, “I wanna drown you in a pool of blood.”

Sometimes in order for you to unlock the true beauty of an album, it takes the same heart and openness that the songwriter invested while creating it. When you allow Voxtrot to settle in to your aural muscle memory, the difference between the bands EP’s and LP will start to fade. You’ll realize that while there might be something to be missed, we as an audience gain so much from an album that is certainly it’s own animal. An animal that doesn’t harp on the past, but evolves from such a sweet canon. I truly feel that if given the chance, Voxtrot will launch it’s namesake into an echelon reserved for the few bands that will shape this decade’s soundtrack.

Download >>Stephen

Download >>Ghost

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