Zox

Take Me Home

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    6
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The debut release from Rhode Island quartet Zox takes much of its influence from the third wave ska revival bands of the mid-'90s, harvesting mild punk and jam band elements. However, the band carves a unique niche for itself with the inclusion of the wailing, adventurous violin work of Spencer Swain, whose soaring licks rank up there with Papa John Creach and Boyd Tinsley in both style and sheer inspiration. Take Me Home offers smart songcraft that is diminished by a few poor production choices: some songs end far too suddenly and anticlimactically, while others linger on too long, as on a nearly six-minute reimagining of Pachelbel's Canon (recast simply as "Canon" here). On the whole, though, the album offers intriguing interplay of dramatic and accessible elements, and is lyrically impressively thoughtful. Despite the generally spirited music, there is an air of pensiveness to the record, a palpable longing for shelter and security that justifies the album's title. That thematic maturity is an important part of what drives Take Me Home and makes it different and a cut above most indie releases. Standout cuts include "The Squid," the touchingly honest "Rain on Me" and "Homebody," and "Goodbye to You," a stark track oddly reminiscent of the Specials' "Ghost Town."

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