By many accounts, Phox were one of the best acts at this year’s Electric Picnic. Now there’s a chance to catch them at the Sugar Club in just over a months time. They’re a six piece from Wisconsin and have Monic Martin as lead singer, a woman with a powerful voice!
PHOX – Play songs from their self titled debut Album in Sugar Club, Dublin – Sunday 9 November
It’s a rare thrill nowadays, when listening to the opening few bars of a track, to hear a voice that slices its way through such a riot of colour and effortlessly holds your attention. The breathy-yet-powerful intensity of Phox’s Monica Martin’s voice sits somewhere between the evocative agelessness of Christine McVie or Nina Simone with more modern echoes of Chairlift’s Caroline Polacheck. Beneath this, an elegant Lee Hazlewood-meets-Regina Spector arrangement and compressed drums that St Vincent would be envious of. Wisconsin’s Phox straddle the normally shaky boundary between sounding modern and classic, perhaps what Haim would sound like if they were brought up in the South instead of the West Coast.
Phox touch many genres, swimming amidst a heady fill of rock, psychedelia, and soul. ‘Slow Motion’ has the ability to hazily transport you to a summer setting; whilst maintaining an ever-pulling nostalgia, it becomes infectiously heartening. The smoky jazz vocals from Monica Martin provide a heavy, sultry coating to the glittering pop backgrounds that slide into clarinet interludes. The single is out August 29th through Partisan Records which is taken from their self-titled debut album due for release on the same date.
In Baraboo, Wisconsin, six unlikely musicians attended high school together, and after a short stint of separation to pursue careers of their own, their hometown was calling. They rekindled their creative streaks, almost as a family, after moving in together. It was Monica who needed to be convinced of her own talent, set against the soundscape of cups, woodwind, pianos and electric guitars provided by fellow band members Jason Krunnfusz, Matthew Holmen, Zach Johnston, Matteo Roberts and Davey Robert. Through the colourful arrangement of ‘Slow Motion’, Americana influences and Caribbean rhythm can be heard, but it’s with the bare, stripped-back harmonies and subtle melancholy of the lyrics that show Phox has created something totally enchanting and unique, captivating from the first listen.
Ask the band how they would describe themselves and they’d say: “PHOX is a bunch of friends from the Midwestern circus hamlet Baraboo, Wisc., a place where kids often drink poisoned groundwater and become endowed mutants. They make music that straddles Feist and Monty Python.”