13th May 2016 – Century Media Records
01. The Bad Blood
02. Devil Dance
03. Roses All The Way
04. Fly High
06. The Wave
07. Good Times
10. King And Queen
11. Alive In Sound
Meet Zoax: five blokes whose music evokes emotion, provokes commotion and stokes devotion; cooler than smokes, their very presences soaks underwear. It’s no hoax, and their new album will coax many folks, putting chokes in their throats, but it also strokes like a lover under the cover; it throws off the yokes of convention, jokes with pretension and ultimately pokes away your tension.
Zoax is the third release from the Londoners in as many years – give or take a few months – but crucially, where the first two were six-track EPs, this latest effort is a full-length: twelve tracks, forty minutes, and a whole lot of extra girth to swing around. The mouth waters.
What’s become apparent as the band prolifically and animatedly dance their way through their burgeoning career is how strong they are in their own identity, and Zoax confirms that with precise and resolute abandon. Their sound is one now full-formed and independent, but more than that, Zoax are able to wield it with purpose, and that’s really what sets them apart from their peers.
The introductory, Joker-referencing lyric of second track “Devil Dance” encapsulates their essence perfectly: “‘why so serious?’ I sang with a smile”, sung right before drummer Jonathan Rogers takes centre stage to smack out a hefty and incredibly catchy snare rhythm. Zoax are about fun. There’s almost no way to listen to them with a frown, and if you attend a show with one on your face, you’ll be singled out and serenaded by charismatic frontman Adam Carroll until you smile – and that’s kind of what Zoax is in recorded form.
We normally leave the invention of new genre names to the rest of the internet, but in this instance, we’re going to have to coin the term ‘soulcore’ for Zoax, due to the music’s expressive, often sentimental tone, and being wrapped as it is in a punchy, energetic package. The two elements are combined again and again with verve and ingenuity, with the likes of the sunny “Good Times” meeting the brooding, seductive “Mirrors“. Joe Copcutt’s butter-smooth bass lines are key to this, underpinning the guitarists beautifully, providing satisfying groove and working in tandem with Rogers to entice the smallest of foot-taps to full-on boogies from the listener. Carroll caps it all off with his strongest performance on record to date, displaying strength and a palpable zeal for the material whilst covering a range of topics with a range of his trademark roars and croons.
There’s remarkable economy in the compositions too; never is anything played without purpose. As a result, the record is unflashy, but extremely accessible – yet the breadth of riffs, melodies and motifs they eke out of their instruments seems inexhaustible
In essence, Zoax is just a pile of fun, like a box of kittens, or perhaps an orgy – and like the latter, it’s sexy, stimulating, and you might just find you like it if you stick it in a hole it’s never been in before.