Victoria Vox

Chameleon

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In the late '90s, there was a revival of interest in the ukulele both in Hawaii and on the mainland. Mainlanders tended to be arty types with a desire to reinvent a notoriously unhip instrument for their own nefarious purposes. Victoria Vox is one of these hipsters, a Berklee graduate and Baltimore resident who has taken the uke back to its Jazz Age roots with a collection of self-penned tunes full of sprightly melodies and arch lyrics. Melodica, another odd instrument more common to dub reggae, adds a playful touch to "Peeping Tomette," a lighthearted song about a female voyeur that has a light swinging feel. "What's Wrong?!" is a '20s-style pop tune with an upbeat lyric, buoyant uke, and one of Vox's most spunky vocals. "Tucson" is a song of unrequited passion with a reggae-funk backbeat and a sweet vocal that shows off Vox's pure, aching alto to good advantage. "The Bird Song" is another reggae-driven tune, delivered by a simple strummed ukulele with dramatic percussion accents by Mike Tarantino and a charming faux trumpet solo by Vox. Vox also strums her acoustic guitar on several tracks: "Five, Four..." is a clever, gently humorous ode to lost love and implicit self release; "Alone" is a subtly powerful country-flavored ballad that deals with heartache and loneliness; and "Damn Venus" is a dark ode to the illicitly exciting lure of infidelity. All the tunes are marked by a lyrical intelligence and melodic flair that make Vox a talent to watch.

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