Voxtrot | Voxtrot (PlayLouder) “Blood Red Blood”

At times, weak lyrics and the abundance of clichés are troubling; however, Ramesh's cool voice and the band's tight instrumentation combat lyrical flaws.

 

Voxtrot made a name for themselves through three very impressive EP's and some high profile gigs since the band's formation in '05. On May 22, Voxtrot will finally release their long-promised full-length under their fresh signing with PlayLouder.

Any release from the Texan four-piece is good news in indie rock, however, this album is weaker than their earlier material and newcomers will not be able to gauge Voxtrot's real talent.

The first single from Voxtrot, "Kid Gloves," was unveiled to the Internet in early March, and by the 16th the whole album flooded Torrents. Upon first listens, no song really jumps out; "Stephen" is the song you are most likely to whistle to, and "Firecracker" is the exciting hit. Every Voxtrot track to date, including the eleven brand new ones, is quality, and listening to the entire album is manageable. At times, weak lyrics and the abundance of clichés are troubling; however, Ramesh's cool voice and the band's tight instrumentation combat lyrical flaws.

The song that shows new growth is "Blood Red Blood." It takes almost a minute before this song feels like a Voxtrot song. The opening guitar sounds like the Shins' "Pam Berry," and when the drums kick it, it is reminiscent of Ted Leo's "Angelshare," both of which interestingly open with the word "lonely."  The energetic track features trumpets and makes Ramesh sing a verse so long it leaves him gasping for air. The music never settles on a certain pattern for longer than 20 seconds.

"Blood Red Blood" is plagued by lazy, played, and inaccurate catch phrases that need rephrasing. "The dying day," "belly of the," "general beat," and "just like a knife," end up distracting the listener instead of delivering the meaning with just a few words. Voxtrot puts out fun music that works without poetry, and when they hit on good songwriting, connecting metaphors to meaning ("swimming inside," "wet your skin," and "suck up"), it's bonus.

The pace is what's gripping. The band takes off at the 45-second mark, works its way up three more levels, emphasizing the first line of each step, getting Ramesh to a near-scream, and then shifting into the chorus. I am impressed with the orchestral accompaniment before the bridge and the trumpeting throughout, and if Voxtrot is responsible, kudos.

Here is a fun fact to leave you with. After the 15 seconds of strumming, when Voxtrot's sole singer, Ramesh Srivastava, starts to sing, the longest pause he takes from singing is only 12 seconds (3:04-3:16). I then realized that this is true in nearly every Voxtrot song—a really big fun fact.

What is most refreshing about Voxtrot is that they did not recycle or rework their songs from the EPs and avoided fillers. "Blood Red Blood," the first single from the album, will be released May 14 with B-sides "New Love" and "Loan Shark." | Joseph O'Fallon

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