Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: 'Devil Dance'

Rating out of 10

Zoax – Zoax

Release Date: 13th May 2016
Century Media Records
iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/zgmhddw

For those who have seen Zoax before, they will know about the fun nature of their live shows. You would be looking around and struggling to find someone who isn’t laughing and smiling over the antics that frontman Adam Carroll uses to entertain a crowd; we heard recently that he left a Brighton venue to chase a car down the road mid song. Now with self-titled album ‘Zoax’, there is a lingering atmosphere that doesn’t entirely match the band’s live persona.

We discovered the alt-rockers while performing at Breakout Festival 2015 and it was the fun side that we are used to. While that side is highly entertaining, it is distracting from the music being performed and perhaps paints the wrong picture of the band when listening to the songs on this album.

We kick off with ‘The Bad Blood’ which blends heavy alternative rock with some soothing melodies and showcases Carroll‘s ability to sing and shout along with the music perfectly. ‘Devil Dance’ follows a similar backbone formula of mixing heavy and soft, but this time focusing on pushing the musicianship to the forefront. Zoax show their listeners just how talented they are with segments of intricacy in the drum beats and guitar work. It’s here we realise how much their influences vary. It’s like fusing the heaviness of rock, the passion of post-hardcore and the all out soul and talent from jazz.

Variety is the key that pushes this album forward, with ‘Roses All The Way’ is more uplifting than the previous  tracks. The guitar melodies are nice and the tone of Carroll‘s voice; his shouts and his singing vocals don’t seep anger, it’s more elation. The gang vocals are a real stand out moment that will be great for a live crowd. ‘Fly High’ is less joyful and heads back to mixing those heavy and soft vibes, taking it to the extreme of wall of sound style riffs and Carroll‘s shouts are really tenacious. That’s all before going to the opposite, echoey soft vocals and barely audible guitar melodies – it’s a nice switch between extremities.

‘Zoax’ is an adventure of an album that dips and dives between using ambience and brutality. The range from melodic to full-on vicious keeps you wondering where the album will go next. It is an emotional rollercoaster when you have ‘Alive in Sound’ that captures it all magnificently, to the wall of sound riffs again, to the catchy choruses and the soft segments. The song writing is highly intelligent, and it shows that each member of this London-based quintet has an incredible musical mind.

‘Zoax’ is the album that makes listeners aware of the songwriting talents within Zoax, from the musicianship, to the lyrics that Adam Carroll delivers. The “Why so serious?” in ‘Devil Dance’ channels that insanity of Heath Ledger‘s Joker, and uses it to perfection to match the intensity and erratic behaviour of the song. What this album does lack is an anthem – a real stand out song that rises above the rest, but maybe that’s what makes this a great album; that all songs are equally as good as the next.

For fans of: Feed The Rhino, Cancer Bats, Every Time I Die

For more Zoax