Vox Vermillion

Standing Still You Move Forward

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One of the most stylistically unusual albums of the mid-'90s alterna-pop scene was the self-titled debut by that dog., which set lead singer Anna Waronker's scratchy indie-guitar noise-pop tendencies against the folky quietude of the triplet-sisters string section led by violinist Petra Haden (now of the Decemberists and Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out fame). The debut album by Minneapolis' Vox Vermillion has a similar sort of tension: the album's center is constantly shifting between Emily Dantuma's cello and Kelsey Crawford's hard-edged, percussive piano and the thudding, rock-oriented rhythm section of drummer Eric Vong and bassist Ollie Dodge. Harder-edged than Rachel's or other similarly chamber music-influenced post-rock outfits, Vox Vermillion never neglect the "rock" side of that hyphen: this is definitely the work of a pop band with idiosyncratic arrangement ideas, not high-art dilettantes playing their artsy idea of rock music. Crawford's appealingly girlish vocals would sound just as swell in front of a straightforward guitar band, but the quirky arrangements and novel sounds of songs like the abrasive but catchy "Controller" gives Standing Still You Move Forward a novel and intriguing sound that suits them well.

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