steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"3x4" CD

Pox World Empire

Genre: indie rock, indie pop

Pox World Empire
1512 James St
Durham NC 27707

June 2006

3x4... three songs each from four different Pox World Empire bands (that's twelve in total, mathies): Schooner, The Sames, Erie Choir, and Summer Set. And fortunately for us, they're all fine carriers of the North Carolina indie rock torch. Add to that individually silkscreened covers, and you've got a winner here.

Schooner is the band I'm familiar with, so we'll start with them. A quartet from Raleigh, these guys play a sort of dark, lulling pop that is surprisingly enticing. These guys were runner up for the Indieville best-of list a couple of years ago, so you know they've got the stuff. Their three tracks here don't stray much from the formula, though "Birds and Other Creatures" stretches into folky territory a little - and with good results.

The Sames have considerably more urgency in their sound, but retain the darkness shown with Schooner's work. The outcome? Infectious, moody pop that stays with you. Their last song, "Seagrove" is slower and a bit more lush, with an uplifting chorus that reminds me of Mercury Rev in the vocals.

Erie Choir I'm strangely endeared to, playing guitar-based folky pop music with a really pleasant sound. The slight Spanish element to "My First Ocean" is a nice inclusion, though the drum machines of "Impolite" are a bit cheesy. Overall, though, I'm really pleased with what they've come up with here.

Summer Set from Wilmington are the last in each four song rotation here (occupying tracks 4, 8, and 12), and they contribute laidback, polished pop music that's tastefully subtle and quite warm. I'd like to see what else they've come up with.

Overall, 3x4 is a very successful release. Giving you more to go by than a one-track-per-artist sampler, this lets you get a real taste of what each of these bands has to offer. In this case, that's a very good thing.

MP3 (from Schooner: Indian Sunburn


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2006]