Friday, July 4, 2014

Phox / Phox Partisan 2014

 
 
One of the most original alternative groups since Talking Heads...
 
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
 
 
A six piece "alternative" band from Wisconsin that explores indie pop, world music flourishes and a cool sophistication often associated with artists such as Sade. The self titled release Phox is the most impressive alternative release of the year as it transcends genre while exploring a plethora of harmonic influences without the typical disconnect that might trip up a lesser group. The guiding light is the lyrical magic performed by lead singer Monica Martin. Not a debut but the first real major release from a band that seems to grasp the concept that slow and steady will indeed win the race.
 
Lyrically the release is amazingly strong, no throw away tracks included. The vocal talents of Martin are beyond reproach with a unique and captivating tone as she plays catch and release with each note. With a natural and emotive inflection, Martin crawls inside a tune and makes it her personal journey. Acoustic is a base line of sound from which world music grooves and relatable indie pop tunes seem to be the natural evolution missing from the current clay pigeons served up as pop staples today. Will radio buy in? No...Word of mouth and combined with natural talent should have this band turning heads in short order.
 
"Evil" is a danceable organic gem with tongue in cheek lyrics and a melody that is haunting. "Calico Man" might be somewhat reminiscent of Tori Amos but in style and presentation as the sound of Phox is truly their own. The closing "In Due Time" is an exquisite ballad that will have most fingers punching repeat. There is simply nothing to grind on here. Phox is ripe with talent and potential. There may not be a better new alternative release this year.
Tracks: Calico Man; Leisure; Slow Motion; 1936; Evil; Laura; Kingfisher; Shrinking Violets; Satyr and the Faun; Noble Heart; Raspberry Seed; In Due Time.