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The Vox Jaguars
The Vox Jaguars EP
Anodyne Records


The Kids Are Alright. When Pete Townshend first wrote those iconic words, he may have been referring to the disaffected youth of 1960's London, but the words ring true today, at least as it pertains to the future of rock and roll. The kids are indeed alright, or at least the four young rockers making up the cast of The Vox Jaguars are. As of this writing, at the time of release of their debut self-titled EP, half the members of the band are still in high school (the other half of the band is barely out). The Vox Jaguars do not let that stand in the way of bringing forth some of the freshest, yet most timeless, garage rock to come down the pike in quite some time.

The record starts off with a bang, the appropriately named "Swagger" bursting forth with a level of grime and sweat expected of bands much further out of the basement. Vocalist Jordan Toph shows off some positively Jaggeresque qualities to his voice, and the old school overdrive captured in the recorded vocal only adds to the effect. The track is accented with vintage combo organ, most likely the eponymous Vox Jaguar, from which the band has taken its name. The overall sound here is reminiscent of recent garage rock revivalists The Agenda, but to label the band as garage punkers would be an oversimplification.

Although a steady undercurrent of garage rock influence and sonic characteristics serve as underpinnings throughout the EP, the rest of the material on the record seems to nod its head toward bands as diverse as The Jam and Mission Of Burma, as heard in the second track, "Wild Orphan". Even the dance-oriented new wave rock of Berlin or Arctic Monkeys seems to color the sound of closing tune "Homesick", whether a conscious influence or not. All of these influences meld together into a fresh sound that should find a natural appeal across the spectrum of people who take their music without any artificial flavors or colors, and unadorned of any form of false affectation.

It can be difficult to truly assess the nature and character of a band when presented only with a scant four songs. Obviously, the future remains largely unknown for this lot. A full length album is apparently on the horizon, though it is unknown how many. However, current evidence indicates The Vox Jaguars may have the underpinnings of a band with real potential to drive the easily distracted youth of today away from the slick overproduced shenanigans of whatever flavor of the month poseur tripe Disney is pushing, and back to honest to goodness rock and roll.

-David Meyer (mondogarage)

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