Pull your Zox up
I've had a couple of press releases from bands who claim to be 'Possibly the hardest working band on the planet', Mendeed and Hatebreed spring to mind, however, Rhode Island's Zox should surely win the title hands down. Until recently they've managed themselves, booked their own tours, designed their own merchandise, run their own record label and achieved that rare thing in the music business for those bands not signed to a major label, made a living playing music. One could argue that most up and coming bands wishing to get several rungs on the musical ladder have to go through most of the above, but one has to admire their work ethic and their passion to believe in what they do when others may not. The band have finally signed a deal with SideOneDummy records and are finally ready to release their debut album 'The Wait' on the UK for the very first time.
'The Wait' is pure indie pop-rock but has enough twists and turns to make it step away from the usual generic pack to stop and make you take notice. The subtle if pretty pointless introduction blends seamlessly into the ska influenced 'Thirsty'. An energy filled track with a great bridge break down. 'Carolyn' is pretty standard but the album picks up quickly with 'A Little More Time.' It's another ska-like tune that never fails to get that toe tapping. Spencer Swain adds a gorgeous, if a little too short, violin intro for 'Anything but Fine.' The song is pretty lifeless and I ached for Spencer to violin his way all around the first couple of bland minutes, but he eventually comes in and immediately enhances the song. This is the theme for the album as a whole. Zox have written a collection of pleasant, inoffensive, pretty safe indie-pop tunes, however the reason why Zox are a step away from the pack is their dynamic use of structures, sounds and use of different beats and changes within those standard songs. 'Big Fish' is a good example of this technique. It utilises a clever phased guitar to dramatically improve a simple melody, many bands wouldn't bother adding such a cool effect, but it's touches like this that make 'The Wait' an enjoyable listen.
'Better If It's Worse' is the album highlight, certainly for this reviewer, because of its up beat groove and innovative guitar heavy driven chorus. Occasionally the band fall into U2 territory, 'I Am Only Waiting' and 'Carolyn' are both guilty of this, but this doesn't take away from the album as a whole. The album is perhaps ten minutes too long, 'Spades' and 'Satellite' lost my interest somewhat and, if omitted from the track-listing, wouldn't be really missed, but the band would probably argue they make the disc complete. There's little that stands out on 'The Wait', it's a solid collection of tunes with some cool dynamics and interesting structures. The songs may be a pretty standard affair but there's enough glitter and style to keep you interested. 'The Wait' may be one for you to try if you're an indie-pop fan looking for something different.