Phox sort of quietly sauntered into my peripheral thanks to my friend Jeremy Bates. He must've sensed I was lacking in the feels department because it didn't take long for me to completely understand the void that Phox was going to be filling for the foreseeable future.
I didn't know I needed a band to listen to while I clutch a teddy bear against my chest and stare longingly into the approaching storm.
Phox have given me more moments of pure, goosepimpled, 'small tears in the corner of me eyes' inducing joy than any other band in recent memory.
A few of my friends (and my wife) joke that I'm in love with the singer Monica, but what's weird is that I don't feel in love with her like I wanna marry her at allllllllll. No, I want to keep her up on the pedestal where I put Etta James and Beth Gibbons and (Fumbling Towards Ecstasy era) Sarah McLaughlan and all of the other voices I could listen to without even having to listen to them. Monica Martin is a voice I will treasure for the rest of my fucking life.
And it's mine. Sure, all ya'll can listen bros, but Fuck you if you think you can touch it bro.
We're proud of Phox, first as music fans, but we've grown a little relationship with these guys and as most of us here are parents, we hold a very strange paternal pride for these shitstains and their music. It's an honor to be reviewing their new self-titled album as a group, and it's especially badass that it is almost exactly a year since they played in my little small town of Yorkville, Illinois just before they went BOOM.
That day was one of my worst, for a reason you'll read about below, but it was also one of my proudest moments as a music fan.
Raspberry Seed. I wanted to stay with 'Noble Heart', as I've sucked it off more times than I can count on SYFFAL. But a new album brings new noises, and the new noise I'm crying over? 'Raspberry' bro. Holy fucking jesus balls on a 1985 limited edition laser disc of Empire Strikes Back this is fucking disgusting. The patience in this band's physiology is so fucking amazing I think I'd rather them keep playing Just The Tip with their instruments than actually sink their collective phallus in my awaiting moistness. If you aren't swaying back and forth while hugging yourself, and occasionally wiping tears, you have a heart of stone and you suck as an outside linebacker. (go bears bros)
Counting your fucking blessings. The last time Phox were in Yorkville was the afternoon after my wife was rushed to the hospital with internal bleeding. I had spent months pleading and begging to get Phox to Yorkville for our festival, and it was about to become a reality when I was smacked with the sudden fear that I wouldn't have my wife anymore. I was imagining life without her for the first time, imagining my kids without a mom, and it was devastatingly emotional for me to even sit in the same room as her, let alone try and enjoy anything when that potential was fucking looming over me and my family.
When Phox arrived in Yorkville I had just rushed home from the hospital, showered, and brought some family down to the riverfront just in time to see them play. I had time to hug each of them and thank them for coming, and then confide in a few of them what was happening back at the hospital where my wife slept and that this really meant a lot to me to be able to escape my reality for a half hour or so. I was asked to introduce them to the crowd and I remember tearing up when I introduced them as the band that simply makes me fucking happy.
They still do. But I'll be fucked six times from roshashana if every time I hear Monica's voice I want to hug my wife and cry into her chest that I'm fucking thankful I didn't lose her last year.
My kids dancing circles around me as Phox plays mere feet from my fat sweaty face. My oldest son looking at me from in front of the Christmas tree saying "DAD! IT'S YOUR FRIENDS!" as Phox plays on a fucking Kohl's commercial (yea, my kid heard Monica's voice on TV and had the bro balls to say something about it). Phox makes me happy.
You're going to have to eventually face the fact that you're a fan of Phox, even if you've never heard them. It's inevitable. The only thing I can see fucking up my friends in Phox is that some evil conglomerate will try and out-market the kitsch of their indie selves and whore them out so hard that we start to resent their style taking precedence over their sound. Right now, their sound outperforms their style, and their style is unFuckwitable. As long as they keep taking fashion advice from the guys in the band named Matt or Zack, they're good. Oh, and I would bone the everloving fucking shit out of Mateo broteo.
SO, about half of the songs on this album I've either heard live and/or they are on past EPs. I honestly didn't think anything would be able to top Noble Heart because that song is better than sex in Bora Bora in one of those huts over the lagoon with a glass bottom and all the colorful fish are swimming beneath your/her asses. BUT this new song 'Laura'.....holy shit in a flaming bag made of potpourri; I just want to let it burn all night long.
I'm more of a beer guy, but I can't wait to this album on vinyl and sit down on my couch with a glass of red wine. I just want to listen to this alone, half-buzzed and in the comfort of my own home.
Tom and Jerry. Remember those scenes when Tom would distract the dog, Spike, with food? The scent of that food would stop Spike dead in his tracks and pull in his nose like a tracker beam as he floated to the source? Monica's voice does that to my ears. When I hear dat sexy raspyness I immediately stop what I'm doing because I'm fucking paralyzed. And then hour later I wake up standing in a puddle of my own drool.
I've said it before....and I'm pretty sure some of my Syffal bros too...but the appeal of Phox lies with in their patience. And if a band is going to depend on this trait, they must have one hell of a vocalist to carry them through the quiet times and the songs must go somewhere. Not only does Phox have an insanely soothing vocalist, but the arrangement of their songs fucking knocks me to the floor. Phox never seems to be in a hurry and the band members never seem to be playing their instruments at the same time. It's like being massaged by a team of Swedish masseuses, each one having a different area of expertise and knowing when to turn up and down the intensity on the specific area of your body they are assigned to. And then miraculous they come together at this perfect moment and finish you off. That is Phox in a bust-a-nut shell.
Slow Motion - This is the popular answer but I don't give no Fucks. I Fucks with this song so heavy. This is the song they will probably push as the single and with good reason. In my opinion is the best song on the record. That doesn't take away from the rest of this album because Phox rocks m'socks.
Running through a wheat field as the sun sets and reflects just right through trees off in the distance. Drinking a gin and tonic poolside. Enjoying the #summerofjohnny.
Life when it was more simple. Way before all this heavy adult shit piles onto your shoulders. There is music you come across like this that just takes you somewhere else and you can for a brief moment relax. Just forget. Let you guard down and let it soak your soul.
This is an up and coming band dropping their first serious release. SYFFAL been riding with them for a long hot minute. I'm really glad they are getting the shine they deserve. Look forward to more from this group.