The quintet Voxtrot has taken "long-awaited" to an impressive level by releasing its debut full-length five years after its inception, and more than a year after a peak buzz period. Whether that's due to indecision, perfectionism, or some grand marketing scheme, the result is predictable: Voxtrot is a thoughtful, well-crafted pop record that doesn't live up to expectations and anticipation.
The Austin outfit has received plenty of Smiths comparisons, which seem vaguely appropriate until leader Ramesh Srivastava opens his mouth—sure, lines like "This house is clean, but it is not my home" and "There's nothing good on the radio" are reminiscent of past Morrissey sentiments, but Srivastava doesn't sound like Moz at all. There's also no trace of Johnny Marr's inventiveness; instead, Voxtrot's solid indie-rock-with-strings-and-piano is more like an American version of Belle And Sebastian, which is why it isn't too surprising to learn that Srivastava lived in Glasgow for a time. All this means Voxtrot is beautiful, smart, and worth getting lost in (it's hard not to get sucked in by lines like "I'm just trying to do my best / I'm not afraid of life, I'm afraid of death," and "Firecracker" is a perfect pop gem), but it doesn't sound like it was made by a band that will eventually get offered $5 million to re-form and play Coachella.