Voxtrot: Voxtrot

June 12, 2007

I was recently told by reliable sources to return my unopened copy of the new Voxtrot record. Rumor had it that Voxtrot was disappointingly bad, and rather than destroy the abstract ideal of Voxtrot with the less than mediocre debut, I should avoid the heartache and get my ten bucks back. Money better spent on Amy Winehouse, for sure.

So Voxtrot stayed unopened on my desk for about two weeks. The disappointment surrounding the record I found wasn’t relegated to my circle of friends: the judge and jury Pitchfork gave the record an underwhelming score of 5.9, and most reviews were equally as lukewarm. Voxtrot clocks in at just over 70 on the Metacritic analysis.

But two weeks is just too long to hold on to a record from a local store. Bu then I figured I couldn’t take it back, and so I opened the disc and put the record on. And to my surprise, I sort of dig it.

As far as I can tell, the first five songs of the record make a pretty damn good EP, which is all we can really expect from this band’s previous batting average. Sure, the entire record is less consistent than prior EP’s, but that’s an expected hazard of releasing twice as many songs. Does the formula get a little old? Sure, but the record’s a quick listen, and to their credit the boys are trying to mix it up with strings and things.

Instead, the greatest problem currently facing Voxtrot is Voxtrot. There is just no getting around the idea that the band is its own greatest adversary, which comes as a surprise for such nice guys playing heart-your-sleeves pop. It’s easy to forget the short and steep trajectory of their rise as Austin locals to the next Belle and Sebastian. And so this record reminds us, these guys are not the Smiths.

The consolation in all of this is that all the misery and heartache surrounding lousy reviews and tepid audience response to the new record is sure to be channeled back into the Voxtrot industry, giving the popular mopesters even greater sad-boy pop power.

Listen: “Kid Gloves” from Voxtrot. Versions of “Kid Gloves” and “Steven” from the Daytrotter sessions are available for free downloading here.

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