VOX AND THE HOUND
If New Orleans band Vox and the Hound rings a bell already, it’s likely for Courage, an indie rock/country album augmented by the influences of surf, Elvis Costello and Ennio Morricone. Over the past five years, the cosmopolitan cowboy character constructed on Courage nearly met its end but somehow, through sleek, synthetic grafts, Vox and the Hound now thrives in a timeless early ’80s Berlin. Aloha Shores is the debut of Vox and the Hound as a contemporary indie rock band beholden to the iconic early ’80s art pop that saw no shortage of tone or texture. Rejecting rockism and welcoming funk as Eno did in the late ‘70s, Vox employs multiple synthesizers, effects, and horns to evoke Bowie and Prince in a distinct plastic soul propelled by a mutant groove while retaining a few core Vox qualities.
Upfront, the album presents a postulation on what would have been if Costello’s artistry were as embedded in the Neue Deutsche Welle mainstream as Bowie’s was. Less overtly, Vox and The Hound has found a thematic resemblance with Phil Collins and Genesis as they previously did with Morricone; prioritizing the feel of their songs over songcraft conventions, bringing prog phantasmagoria to pop, and even tastefully utilizing Collins’ signature gated reverb. A little surf and some countryisms resurface on Aloha but, in the context of Vox’s dynamic albumcraft, the album presents a far softer and very mainstream-friendly version of Mr. Bungle’s masterful, liberated mania complete with Mike Patton-grade soulfully left field vocal performances elaborating personal experiences and outsider themes. Vox and the Hound’s stranger, more futuristic character may still seem a challenge but Aloha Shores is the truly rare sort of album that surmounts concerns of overreaching or dissonant influences by dedicatedly adjusting cohesion, accessibility, and enjoyability to their passion for dynamic exploration!
Listen to “Recapitated” via Circuit Sweet – HERE
“Aloha Shores” is out Friday March 31st on Community Records
Mailorder – Turquoise tape w/ Red Leader – HERE