This five-piece hail from Austin, Texas, but their driving fresh-faced pop-rock suggests strong Anglo- or at least Brito-phile leanings, which have drawn comparisons with the likes of The Smiths, Belle and Sebastian, and Aztec Camera. Well, singer Ramesh Srivastava was living in Scotland recently, so that's hardly surprising. Arcade Fire and XTC are two other bands they could easily be compared to.
Their generally cheery songs are fronted by the controlled yelp of Srivastava, who is presumably also responsible for writing their songs, although this debut album has no such useful thing as detailed writing or performing credits. At least we know that's the Tosca String Quartet adding a touch of cinematic depth to seven of the eleven tracks. To what extent the lyrics are autobiographical is another moot point; the Beatle-esque ditty "Steven" is either a tribute to Morrissey, a gay love song, or one written from a (heterosexual) female perspective, although the nostalgic "The Future Pt. 1" finds the singer reminiscing over ?playing soccer and kissing girls?; maybe that was just a teenage phase. The adolescent, anthemic rush of "Kid Gloves" is a highlight and has the most memorable chorus in ?cheer me up, cheer me up, I'm a miserable f**k?. Here and elsewhere, the combination of insecure, questioning lyrics and scratchy indie melodies recalls The Wedding Present, although the pensive piano ballad Real Live Version is a good deal closer to Coldplay.
Voxtrot have been garnering considerable critical praise on both sides of the Atlantic, although after several spins, I can?t really see what all the fuss is about or call myself a fan. But so what? Time is on their side, and if you like the bands they seem to be inspired by, you may very well be able to. --Jon Lusk
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Debut 2007 album! Baroque pop 'n' strummed rock outta Texas, for fans of Belle & Sebastian and The Smiths.