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Jul 22, 2014







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Phox, Phox (Partisan Records)
CD Reviews: July 17, 2014

07/17/14



Phox, Phox (Partisan Records)

From Wisconsin, a Vesuvius of quirk rains down on our heads, a concoction that makes like Norah Jones with Vampire Weekend as a backup band. No seriously, all five band members are from Wisconsin, which somehow makes their range of Bonnaroo fluff — cowboy-spaghetti stuff to downtempo ukulele stuff — seem not quite as forced, not that there’s proof of that per se. By now, you have to get the sense that bands like this consist of one guy with a deathly fear of cubicle life and three or four others with the bad luck to know the guy’s roommates, “happy accident” bands that last an album or three before deciding that dropping out of school wasn’t the brightest idea to pick from. Singer and main songwriter Monica Martin’s low smoky voice chameleons between Norah and Neneh Cherry as needed, from the found-object-percussive faux-Caribbean opener “Kingfisher” to the glitch-Calexico-tinged “Raspberry Seed” — OK, that’s not a yawning chasm of eclecticism there, but it is what it is.  What does all this mean? It means that they’ll get comfortable in the sure-to-come lavish praise heaped on them by deadline-haunted CMJ hacks, and then either experiment too much or settle into a role as a hippy-festival B-tent fixture. Does it matter which? BEric W. Saeger





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