Review: Vox Low - Trapped on the Moon (Evrlst) - The Hunt (Correspondant)
Trapped on the Moon - Evrlst
In an age where the entry-level requirements for a psyche band appear to be a) owning a Spacemen 3 record and b) being able to copy it note-for-note, a group who can combine warped pop nous with a ground-up understanding of structure and impact should be huge.
French act Vox Low remain virtually unknown, however, even by the meagre standards of niche psychedelia, a state of affairs that releasing 100 vinyl copies of their latest, two-track single probably won’t do a great deal to address. The band have the potential to be huge but, like pandas flown halfway around the world who then refuse to fuck their way off the endangered list, they need to meet us halfway.
There’s a download, of course, but if like me you fetishise physical objects whose primary function for 98 per cent of their functional lives is simply to occupy space, you’d better get on the case because, at the time of writing, there’s seven left – and it’s an absolute doozy.
“Trapped on the Moon”, treads similar ground to fellow French tripped-out duo Limiñanas, which is a shorthand way of saying that it effortlessly marries Gainsbourg swagger with a post-punk flourish. There’s a touch of the motorik about it, but Vox Low are linear, not circular – there is no aimless repetition, just a clear vision and a defined voice. Flip side “I’m Dreaming of You” is a synth-heavy rework of their 2015 release and is catchy enough to reanimate the dead – or a dancefloor full of Goths in any case.
The Hunt - Correspondant
Not content with just one jaw-dropping release, there’s also “The Hunt”, out this month on Jennifer Cardini’s ludicrously consistent Correspondant label.
It’s a very different beast, with the punch-drunk gloom-rock stomp of the title track, which is backed by “Some Words of Faith”, all perky arpeggios and machine-hammer drums. At times, cutting synths add to the percussive thrum, like Moroder trying to smuggle Morse-coded messages out of a dystopian future. By the time we get to “I Am a Strange Machine Sometimes”, the tempo slows to allow for a rolling acid undertow to drag us off for seven and a half minutes. It’s simultaneously relaxing and deeply unsettling – imagine getting a massage from your mother-in-law, or someone guiding a group meditation with the mantra, “I killed them, I killed them all”.
Both singles are utterly essential and, for those of you within striking distance, the band play their second ever UK gig at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington, London on 22nd September.