Voxtrot's first full-length effort sees them dissipate into a shadow of their former self. The opening is promising. 'Introduction' is a gentle and heartfelt rambling that plays of the little quirks in Srivastava's vocals. Tension is built up and released to good effort. The second track, 'Kids Gloves', isn't a bad effort either. It has the pace and sensitivity displayed on their early EPs, Raised By Wolves and Mothers Sisters Daughters and Wives, whilst the lyrics 'Cheer me up, I'm a miserable fuck' add a romantic sense of desperation that becomes more evident on repeated listens. Unfortunately, the third and four tracks appear and disappear without notice, and by track seven I'm left with a strong sense of boredom.
The Voxtrot I had come to know and was expecting was one that was full of boyish coy, almost-melodies and imbued with a peculiarly juvenile way of looking at the world. Internet blogs, mp3 websites and Myspace had won the band a substantial following that climaxed in two consecutive sell-out gigs at New York's Bowery Ballroom. So what is different this time around? Well, the production is there. The layers are faultless and each track retains a youthful aesthetic. The problem lies somewhere much more basic: the songs simply aren't of the same standard. The songs aren't catchy, there's not enough melody and there is no direction. Early releases like 'The Start Of Something' and 'Raised By Wolves' were great pop songs. In comparison, 'Firecracker' and 'Every Day' are too one-dimensional, sluggish and undisciplined. They don't stick in your head and they pass through you as if they had no substance at all.
On repeated listens it seems that Voxtrot have gone for greatness but have forgotten what it was that set them on that course in the first place. Think of Franz Ferdinand's second album, or First Impressions Of Earth by the Strokes. It just seems surprising that this has happened to Voxtrot on their first release. Perhaps this is indicative of the internet age: mp3s and online releases mean that bands can burn out before actually releasing anything tangible. Whatever the explanation, my verdict is miss this one for now. Hopefully Voxtrot will rediscover themselves in their next effort, if they make it that far.