Review | PHOX - Self-titled


[W]isconson’s symphonic sextet PHOX released their highly-anticipated, self-titled, debut today (6/24) via Partisan Records, and quite frankly it is everything you need in a summer album. 12 tracks of blissful, lay back in a hammock on an island beach with a tasty beverage and let your worries melt away music, perfectly created for forgetting you don’t actually have any vacation time available at your job.

It is very hard to listen to this record and not get swept away in the breezy, soulful voice of lead-singer Monica Martin and the orchestral prowess of her multi-talented bandmates Matt Holmen (banjo/guitar/horns), Zach Johnston (banjo/guitars), Dave Roberts (drums), Matteo Roberts (keys), and Jason Krunnfusz (bass). Categorizing this band as only playing these certain instruments does not do them justice as a whole. Each member is a wiz at picking up something new and giving it a go. Clarinet? check! Strings? check! Triangle? check! Flugelhorn? checkmate!

The opening track, “Calico Man,” is a hushed, gentle arrangement of voice and bass that perfectly sets the dreamy mood of the album. The first single, “Slow Motion,” was released back in April and set the hearts of music bloggers across the world aflutter…yours truly included. The horns that kick in on the delightful song “Evil,” along with the quick tempo changes and hand-claps, make you want to press replay over and over. The band knows their way around a harmony as well! The standout track, “Shrinking Violets,” excels at blending voices with every instrument imaginable and flows perfectly into the hypnotically spiraling “Satyr and the Faun.” The closing song, “In Due Time,” wraps the album up as gently as it begins, with the spotlight on Martin’s impeccable voice, which transcends time and space.

I have listened to this debut pretty much every day since it arrived in Music Savage’s inbox and I can honestly say this is a top contender for album of the year for 2014. PHOX has what it takes to become the new must see band and fortunately for you fine folks the tour to support the release kicks off today. I have had the pleasure of seeing them live as openers earlier this year and was smitten from the opening chord to the last waining note. You will not want to miss them if they happen to be in your town.

PHOX tour dates:

Tue Jun 24 – Omaha NE – The Waiting Room
Wed Jun 25 – Kansas City MO – Riot Room
Fri Jun 27 – Austin TX – Stubb’s BBQ (Indoor)
Sat Jun 28 – Dallas TX – Three Links
Mon Jun 30 – Scottsdale AZ – The Rhythm Room
Tue Jul 01 – Los Angeles CA – The Echo
Thu Jul 03 – San Francisco CA – The Chapel
Sat Jul 05 – Portland OR – Mississippi Studios
Sun Jul 06 – Seattle WA – The Crocodile
Tue Jul 08 – Salt Lake City UT – The State Room
Wed Jul 09 – Denver CO – Hi Dive
Fri Jul 11 – St. Louis MO – Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
Sat Jul 12 – Champaign IL – Mariposa Music Fest
Sun Jul 13 – Nashville TN – The High Watt
Tue Jul 15 – Birmingham AL – The Bottletree
Wed Jul 16 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl
Thu Jul 17 – Asheville NC – Grey Eagle
Fri Jul 18 – Chapel Hill NC – Local 506
Sat Jul 19 – Washington DC – The Hamilton
Mon Jul 21 – Philadelphia PA – Boot & Saddle
Tue Jul 22 – Brooklyn NY – Knitting Factory
Wed Jul 23 – New York NY – Mercury Lounge
Fri Jul 25 – Newport RI – Newport Folk Festival
Sat Jul 26 – North Bennington VT – The Vermont Arts Exchange
Mon Jul 28 – Montreal QC – Casa Del Popolo
Tue Jul 29 – Toronto ON – The Drake
Thu Jul 31 – Cleveland Heights OH – Grog Shop
Fri Aug 01 – Detroit MI – Magic Stick Lounge
Sun Aug 03 – Green Bay WI – Meyer Theatre w/ San Fermin
Mon Aug 04 – Minneapolis MN – 7th St. Entry
Wed Aug 06 – Milwaukee WI – Turner Hall
Thu Aug 07 – Madison WI – High Noon Saloon – SOLD OUT
Fri Aug 08 – Madison WI – High Noon Saloon – SOLD OUT
Sat Aug 09 – Chicago IL – Lincoln Hall


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