Oh how we loved Voxtrot. Such promise, and such succulent tunes. We literally wet ourselves when we heard Mothers, Sisters Daughters and Wives. The shame we felt picking through the lost property bin for unsoiled undies was well worth the pay off.
So here we are at the new album. There was so much promise early on has it made it all the way to their album?
To begin with the signs are good. The album opens with great promise, like a spliff that’s been loaded top heavy. There’s the head rush. Whoa. You need to sit down because all these songs mean so much to you at the moment? Pull up a floor my friend. Sit down and take it all in. Love is not an easy thing. It’s hard but sometimes it’s worth waiting for.
The first five songs are here easy to love. The stories of front man Ramesh Srivastava leaving America to study at Glasgow because of an obsession with Belle and Sebastian are not just believable when you hear these songs, they are entirely obvious.
Voxtrot have taken B&S’s formula and made it their own. Although somewhere along the line a certain amount of dilution seems to have taken place. With the Mothers, Sisters… EP there was a certain amount of vim and vigour that gave Voxtrot a little bit of an edge. Here on their album that edge seems to be missing somewhat. That’s not to say that there isn’t some great songwriting going on here. The opening five songs are awash with clever (and heartbreaking) lyrics, rolling piano riffs and where needed, well, why not add in a little orchestration?
Early on Voxtrot find themselves brimming over with melody and ideas. Stephen mixes up The Beatles at their most benign and The Beach Boys at their most benign and some how coming up smelling of fantastically melodic roses.
Firecracker leads you up a blind alley with a verse that seemingly goes nowhere. Get to the chorus however and the payoff is spectacular. Voxtrot are a band who know that choruses are where good tunes become anthems.
Find yourselves at Future Pt.1 and you begin to understand why all those cobweb encrusted types tell you that love is something you have to work at. All the immediacy of the first few songs has gone. You’re sure you can hear an old Creedence riff in there somewhere (which is not a bad thing per se), then you’re not entirely sure there’s a song there at all. Move on to Every Day and the same thing happens. Where have the tunes gone? Where are the pop hooks?
Look a little deeper and you’ll find it there in the lyrics. “There is no love without trying, there is no easy way”. This is an album that appears to be easy to love at first, and then easy to dismiss pretty quickly too. Given a little time this is an album that can please on every level. On the one hand it can be an immediate pop record, and on the other it needs some serious time to get the full benefits.
We still love Voxtrot. They’re not as aggressive as they were when we first fell for them, but they’re more eloquent. We’re out of the backseat and heading for some freshly laid sheets. The devils. Not that we minded the excitement of the backseat and hopefully that glint in Voxtrot’s eye will one day return. Four star material.