There is a fine line between being upbeat and sounding like a manufactured sort of false optimism, and Phox’s self-titled album comes perilously close to the latter. Overly cheery music can make your insides squirm in discomfort, but the album may not be all lost on you.
The majority of Phox’s album carries a light airy tone: a mashup of jangly layered clarinets, flutes and trumpets – paired with Martin’s high-pitched, echo-laden, floaty vocals, evoking images of children running around a pasture on a sunny afternoon (think Heidi).
Songwriting and musicality wise, whilst the album flows well as a coherent piece and is easy enough on the ears (great for an early morning or revision) the tracks are a little lacking when it comes to catchiness, and are easily indistinguishable even after three listens.
The standout tracks of Phox are in fact those that has a twist of melancholy blended into them, such as in ‘Laura’ and ‘Noble Heart’, the last of which features abrupt additions of electric guitar that spices up the song. If Phox keeps exploring, there may yet be more in store for the band ahead.
[Karen Cheung – @karenklcheung]