ep review ~ 'vokxen' ~ vokxen

Art-pop affectionados Vokxen's rise across the capital has been swift and clinical. The four girls with a love of melody, synths and all things shimmering emerged last year, dancing onto Cool FM's airwaves and top line-ups across Belfast with such ease you'd wonder if they'd planned it for years. Hey, maybe they have. It would certainly explain the flowing synchronicity of their self titled debut EP, long awaited in fickle pop terms, but in reality released very early into this bands short time together.

Floating opener 'The Dark Side' is the atmospheric curve ball which draws you into the crazy world Vokxen occupy. Slowly building, it shows off the band's tight harmonies with menacing ease, as reverb-laden guitars combine to create a haunting contrast to frontwoman Claire McCartney's sweet vocals. Unsurprisingly, debut single 'Somebody' still sounds great here. Synth and melody heavy, it's Vokxen at their electronic best and a fine addition to the EP.

'Pages' then returns Vokxen back to that darker undertow, with flickerings of Muse thrown into this 80's influenced pop song. It's a dance worthy chorus, interwoven with clever vocal melodies and some fine drum work from Jayne Harkness. 'Hoping' too, plays off the bands awesome harmonies, though with it's bright verses and light keyboard work it's distinctly more 90's than it's predecessors.

Undoubtedly fighting for the right to be the band's debut single, 'Captivated' is a startlingly beautiful piano ballad and a fitting closer to this record. Building to a crescendo of fierce guitar and military drum beats, it's a massive song, walking the tightrope between alt-pop and alt-rock closer than ever before for Vokxen.

Now armed with a record of fine pop tunes, this is Vokxen's chance to really push on. Choosing to launch their EP on the Belfast Barge would seem a strange choice for most bands, but with Vokxen, you feel they'll be able to pull it off ~ and in some style.

Taylor Johnson

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