Six-piece indie pop band PHOX from Wisconsin are to release their self-titled debut LP out this month on Partisan Records. PHOX is Jason Krunnfusz, Monica Martin, Matthew Holmen, Zach Johnston, Matteo Roberts and Davey Roberts. As explained on their Facebook page, the band members grew up together and formed a band after trying and failing to leave their hometown. Whilst living together PHOX recorded in their bedrooms and their demo tape got discovered by Bon Iver’s recording engineer Brain Joseph. He recorded this release at April Base Studios in Eau Claire, WI. The album was mixed by Michael Brauer at Electric Lady in NYC and shows off a selection of simple folk-pop songs with a rock and psychedelic edge.
Opener “Calico man” brings in the echoey striking vocals from Martin – it’s a slow, emotional song which focuses on the vocals before leading into the more light hearted tapping of the keys of “Leisure” in which the piano notes flow around vocals.
“Slow Motion” goes back to more folk inspired influences, with banjo, whistling and soft brass whilst “1936” continues with string highlights. “Evil”, unlike its name is full of soft guitar strums and vocal harmonies. The vocals tell another story; “Face deep in between my best friend’s knees telling me that you don’t wanna hurt me.”
This leads into the beautiful slow opening of “Laura”. Still light on the instrumentals, the echoing sound effects build up and strings come in for a crescendo. “You can try and hide away from all the things that people say, that you need to be ok but you just stay the same,” repeats, it’s like she’s singing a lesson for Laura.
“Satyr and the Faun” is a lovely track with a hazy set of strings and gorgeous melody. It’s another sad, reflective track – they seem to be PHOX’s forte. Martin sings “you seem to be the satyr you’re not the faun, you said you’d see me later but you never called” – it’s more tales of heartbreak.
“Noble Heart” starts similarly to the rest of the album but ends with bursts of rocking electric guitar. “In Due Time” finishes the album with more breathy, close sounding vocals – male vocals harmony beneath in a lovely ending tack. A nice combination of slower, contemplative tracks PHOX is a good first album although slightly lacking in oomph.