[Photo by Chris Rose]
Download: Voxtrot - "Wrecking Force"
Voxtrot's first full length LP came out this week, and while generally good, the album doesn't build upon the promise and strengths of the EP's that preceded it. The band has nailed its sound and the album is a solid collection of catchy, danceable songs but one is left wishing that they would push a little more. Still there are a few highlights, such as "Kid Gloves" and "Blood Red Blood," and if there were no EP's to herald the band's promise, the self-titled album would be a much buzzed-about debut.
Instead of picking a choice cut from Voxtrot's LP, I instead chose "Wrecking Force," which I believe is the apotheosis of the band's sound, one that combines chugging, dance-ready rhythms with vague lyrics that belie the sunny blissful vibe the music evokes. The song was recommended to me by a friend who noted that he has had it on an endless loop. A check of his Last.fm page confirmed that he had, indeed, played the track at last four dozen times. It's easy to hear why one would want to listen to the song over and over again. In preparing this post, I have already listened to "Wrecking Force" repeatedly--and I can listen to it indefinitely. From the song's opening "shhh" to the song's late-round salvo of guitars, "Wrecking Force" sounds like an indie rock classic. It reminds me a little of New Order's "Age of Consent," which isn't a stretch since one of Voxtrot's apparent inflluences is the New Wave sound of the 1980s. The guitars swirl around the song's sturdy backbeat with its generous inclusion of hi-hat tapping, building up a wall of sound that drives and chugs the song forward until it reaches the zenith and it tumbles forward to a sweeping rush of tinny guitars.
The lyrics seem to speak of some all-consuming passion. Some comments at SongMeanings suggest the song may be about drugs, which I think does work, but it could also simply be about the enveloping power of music:
Look over, look fast, again look past
The motley kids and ugly cast
That smother you, all radiant with joy
Or it can be about the seductiveness of overwhelming emotion and simply getting lost in it. It can make you feel alive but it can also wreck you. The lyrics are deliberately vague--I can barely make out the last verse--but it adds a dimension of catharsis to the song's irresistible melody. It seems to argue that there is a time and a place when you just have to let go and tumble headlong without thinking (you can be your own god if you want to), so it's useless to ponder the meaning of this song. Just surrender and let it wreck you for a moment.