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Zox
Line In The Sand
Side One Dummy Records
www.zoxband.com


Providence, Rhode Island's rock quartet Zox established a reputation for themselves as the rock reggae punk band to watch, frequently performing at Vans Warped Tour shows. Their debut album Take Me Home and their sophomore release The Wait have won them floods of loyal fans, and the band's latest offering Line In The Sand won't disappoint them. Band members John Zox (drums), Eli Miller (lead vocals, guitar), Dan Edinberg (bass, backup vocals), and Spencer Swain (violin, backup vocals) have produced an album that will compel music fans to the band's stage. Zox's cache of reggae-rockabilia includes a few tracks with segments of country-folk trysts relatable to Patrick Park and punk rock bouts like Incubus, but best of all, Zox display their own brand of rhythmic swells with melodic ska strokes, catchy rivets and body-grooving rides that are hard to resist.

Tracks like "When The Rain Comes Down Again" and "Don't Believe In Love" brandish energetic rock lobes and polished punk trimmings which stylize the melodic twists and chord shifts. The transitional phrases hold the key to making the tracks kick up and fire. The reggae rock mixers "Towards Los Angeles" and "The Same" parade classic Zox stimulants reminiscent of music off of their previous albums. The vocals and guitars clench and release intermittently with eerie amplified distortions scrubbing along the bridge of "Towards Los Angeles." The chord dynamics show a lively agility on "I Miss You," and the smooth reggae rock balminess of "Another Attack" delivers cruising rhythmic ska-clad grooves and animated vocals that are emblematic of Controlling The Famous. The layering of vocal parts on the bridge of "Another Attack" magnifies the duality between the ego and alter-ego as the melodic phrases endure cycles of highs and lows being looped and giving Miller's vocals a brisk workout.

Zox turns the dial towards sparse acoustic rock vessels basting the guitar chords in country-folk shades on "Goodnight" and "The Wait (Part II)," the latter having Miller's vocals soaring on the second verse and pressing hard on the words. The soft rock tempo of "Lucky Sometimes" spouts delicate melodic clasps that break into sessions of huge rock flourishes creating cycles of sparseness and clumps of sonic ions. The easy going rolls of "Seventh Avenue Prophet" are sweetened by Swain's violin which takes flight through the chorus and bridge parts. The melody has a certain magnetism that wraps the listener around its finger with lyrics like: "A pair of dog tags you call sympathy/ hung like a cross around your neck/ on tired streets you serve tirelessly…No one seems to notice as they pass/ battering rams can't break through the glass/ you said 'you can't keep running forever, love is the only forever, you're sure they'll come around.'" Prophetic words for a song personifying a prophet in its title.

Zox doesn't disappoint on their third album. In fact, they seem to be standing on their own feet, incorporating less of their musical influences and cultivating more of their own interpretation of rock driven melodies. Line In The Sand seems like music that only Zox could conceive. The musicianship is sharp and refined and the vocals move in sync with the melodic versing. It's an album that any band would be happy to have made.

-Susan Frances


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