British punk has been at a feisty high for a couple of years now and just gets more potent which each emerging band and release. At the heart and criminally not getting the attention deserved is The Vox Dolomites, a quartet which turns the seeds of punk rock and ska into lyrically and musically gripping dramas. Their songs and EPs have proven the band has an instinctive knack at inciting feet and thoughts with energy and skill. Just recently the Stockport based band released their self-titled debut album, a release which surely will finally draw the keenest spotlight upon their presence.
Formed in2011, The Vox Dolomites is a tenacious and voracious creative stomp driven by guitarists/vocalists Ant Walsh and Will Farley, bassist/vocalist Chris O’Donnell, and drummer Simon Dunnington. The band soon grabbed attention, including ours, with the release simply called First Demo 2012. Their introduction was a blaze of punk and ska revelry which instantly made with its raw and inventive presence, an instant and lingering impression. It was a success subsequently emulated by tracks like No Split Ends and the Down For Three / Joan & Frank single of 2013. Live too the band has earned a renowned reputation for their ferocity of sound and drive, playing acclaimed shows not only at home but across the globe where especially in Japan, the band is feverishly devoured. This was no more evident than in The Dirty Work Tour 2012 movie which came out last year. Filmed by Chalkman Video it honestly followed the band on tour out East, revealing everything about the connection between band and their fans. Working hard on their first album through the first half of 2014, The Vox Dolomites has now opened the cage to a stomping release which declares that the band has hit their sweet spot creatively and unleashed their most adventurous and eclectic songs yet.
Choppy riffs make an instant potent tempting as opener Backtrack steps forward, their lure accentuated by the stroke of piano which sparks a flavoursome stroll of shadowed bass and keys wrapped in expressive melodies. A breath is swiftly taken before vocals and songs rouse up the imagination with their spicy enterprise and punk tenacity. It is a riveting mix, raw punk and melodic rock colluding for an infectious proposition equipped with essences of Rancid and NOFX for extra flavour. Making a striking start to the album, the richly pleasing track is surpassed by the outstanding Battle Scars, a feisty roar with thicker sinews and predatory intent compared to its predecessor, cored by the gripping throaty bass of O’Donnell amidst an acidic blaze of guitar. One of the band’s early songs which graced a previous EP, the track has been revamped and given a new antagonistic tenacity so it stomps as a new beast
Both Down For 3 and Alone In Mexico keep the adventure and quality of the album flying, the first of the two a ska rock dance with the crisp beats of Dunnington coring a flirtatious bass enticement and the radiant devilry of keys. Vivacious and exhaustive for feet and emotions, the song is a virulent bounce infused with sixties garage rock seduction and insatiable melodic charm. The second of the pair explores a sterner old school punk attitude and sound, the switching of two vocal attacks an alluring graze to compliment the similarly harsh sounds. The song still develops an imposing catchiness though which is as irresistible as the brooding fury within its depths and narrative.
The brilliant No Split Ends comes next, a pop punk provocateur with ferocity to its jangling riffs and punch to its intimidating rhythms. Again the busy energy and intensity of the track is a breath-taking onslaught but also it is ripe with a seriously addictive lure and temptation which snarls as it seduces. As the previous older song, the track has been revitalised and twisted into an even greater slice of punk alchemy to take top song honours and reinforce reasons why those in the know wax lyrical about the band.
As mentioned there is strong and highly pleasing variety to the album as shown by the melodic and hard rock infused 6AM Rain. Fiery but simultaneously a gentler stroll, the track comes with skilled melodic endeavour and blues rock imagination whilst still showing its punk breeding. Whereas the previous song had a sense of Russian punks Biting Elbows and also [Spunge], this whispers a calm Turbonegro and Bad Religion fusion whilst still sounding distinct to the Brits. Without sparking as certainly its predecessor, the track is an intriguing and pleasing different side to the band’s evolving sound, as is the more ruggedly bruising ALA where again heavier rock riffs and that increasingly delicious carnivorous tone of bass bind attention and appetite. The stirring and muscular brawl of punk ‘n’ roll is an inescapable imposing setting up the passions perfectly for the impossible addictive Horrorshow. Ska punk with a growl to vocals and riffs tempered by the melodic seducing of keys, the track is one of those stomps which once infested by never leave thoughts and passions. Bands like Face To Face and Operation Ivy have helped drive the style of music employed, but whether either has crafted a track as potent and irresistible as this is debateable.
I Fought The Lawyer brings us back to old school punk fury with Clash like attitude within raw rock ‘n’ roll whilst the gnarly Kojak With A Kodak with stabbing riffs and a rumbling bass lining, takes ears into yet another new aspect in the band’s punk ingenuity and exploration. A slow burner compared to other songs on the album, even with its eager gait, the track reveals itself to be a fascinating and richly creative persuasion unveiling a little more to its depth and lure with every listen.
The album goes out with a bang through firstly the mouth-watering aggressive stomp of Break Down The Walls, the song another long-term lust in the making, and lastly the ridiculously contagious and body igniting Losing Hands. Punk does not come any better than these last two songs, well apart from the other tracks on this excellent rampage of an album. It seems we are praising The Vox Dolomites more and more with every release and there is no reason to change with this seriously impressive album. They are a band which deserves the keenest spotlight and hopefully now they have found the trigger to such attention and recognition.
The Vox Dolomites is available now via STP Records @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm on CD with a vinyl version scheduled for 2015.
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