12 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Frontwoman Monica Martin exhibits all the laid-back cool of Sade on the self-titled debut album from her Baraboo, Wis.–based seven-piece group, PHOX. Where so many groups concern themselves with aggression and go-for-the-jugular hit singles, PHOX are willing to take their time, knowing that their leisurely sound is best appreciated over time. They’ve been called indie pop, but the world music influences clearly break them into a category of their own. The masterful “Slow Motion” demonstrates what the group can do with a touch of instrumentation, while the sparser “1936” emphasizes their sophisticated harmonic sense. Their love of Caribbean atmospheres and bossa nova grooves establishes them as musicians willing to take the road less traveled, with Burt Bacharach more of an influence than rock stars or disco divas. “Evil” threatens with a brawnier approach, but “Laura” settles the group back into dreamy textures where an electric piano and Martin’s voice hold out until the full orchestration brings the song to a heavenly climax in the final minutes.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Frontwoman Monica Martin exhibits all the laid-back cool of Sade on the self-titled debut album from her Baraboo, Wis.–based seven-piece group, PHOX. Where so many groups concern themselves with aggression and go-for-the-jugular hit singles, PHOX are willing to take their time, knowing that their leisurely sound is best appreciated over time. They’ve been called indie pop, but the world music influences clearly break them into a category of their own. The masterful “Slow Motion” demonstrates what the group can do with a touch of instrumentation, while the sparser “1936” emphasizes their sophisticated harmonic sense. Their love of Caribbean atmospheres and bossa nova grooves establishes them as musicians willing to take the road less traveled, with Burt Bacharach more of an influence than rock stars or disco divas. “Evil” threatens with a brawnier approach, but “Laura” settles the group back into dreamy textures where an electric piano and Martin’s voice hold out until the full orchestration brings the song to a heavenly climax in the final minutes.

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