Review Summary: Generic indie pop that fails to impress.
Meet Voxtrot. Like almost every indie pop band that doesn't completely and horribly suck at first listen, Voxtrot is surrounded with hype. They've released three EPs up to this point, and two of them got good reviews in everyone's favorite hypemaker (is that a word?), Pitchfork. College hippies everywhere can't wait to get their hands on this album. This is going to be revolutionary. Voxtrot's going to be the next Arcade Fire. The next Interpol.
But one thing that Arcade Fire and Interpol have over Voxtrot is that they make GOOD music. Voxtrot's self-titled debut LP sounds exactly like every other indie pop album you've ever heard, except with a vocalist that can't strain his voice to hit any sort of high note whatsoever. Ramesh Srivastava not only has one of the most unpronounceable names ever, he also can't sing very well. And you have to remind yourself that this is indie pop, not hardcore punk.
The songs aren't great either: imagine Arcade Fire's strings and atmospheric vocals without any of the dramatic tension or the feeling that you are just witnessing (or listening to) something amazing. It often seems Voxtrot doesn't know where to go with its precieved epicness: the first track, "Introduction", swells with a dramatic violin prelude, only to stumble into "Kid Gloves", a Smith's like self-decapitating song that sounds like they just made a rehash of previous work. If you played this song next to "Rise Up in the Dirt" or "Soft & Warm" on previous albums, you would either be asleep or wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the three.
There are some standouts that fit this tepid awkwardness, and seem to embrace the odd postion between indie standards that Voxtrot finds themselves in. "Steven" is the best track on the album, when The Smiths-style lyrics hold up against the background darkness, and "Brother In Conflict", a slightly heavier song that's much more interesting than the stale indie pop found on most of the album. In fact, songs like "Firecracker" and "Easy" tend to slip by you without you realizing you were listening to a song.
Overall, Voxtrot releases a LP built to gain financial success off of their underground following and capitalizing off of Arcade Fire's and The Shins' recent success, without attempting to release a sturdy piece of solid rock. Only check this out if your a fan.