There's a reason the acoustic, singer-songwriter band Foot Ox has been dubbed "broken folk." Actually, there are more than a dozen instrumental reasons, as project frontman Teague Cullen not only wields a finely tuned guitar and a distinguishable set of vocal chords, but successfully gigs on far-ranging instruments such as organ, banjo, ukulele, singing saw, and pianolin (a piano-violin hybrid). Foot Ox's self-titled debut is full of cute harmonies, with most songs harboring a storytelling element, especially "Wet Blanket," which includes the poignant lyrics, "You're staring at your sleeping 3-year-old daughter/ Just remember she can't survive on Top Ramen and tap water/So send her back to the factory where they make human beings/Her tiny, crippled face will always haunt your vivid dreams until you're numb." Another standout tune is "I Take My Life Seriously," which showcases a spellbinding, Theremin-sounding Casio SK-1 keyboard lick performed by Dane Chadwick and circuit-bent by Nick Eymann. Dispersed throughout the cosmopolitan 20-minute effort are change-of-pace interludes, such as a short-form noise composition and a moodier, Nigel Godrich-esque tape noise collage. Highly recommended.
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