Olive Vox: ‘Olive Vox’

The teenage brothers from Mansfield provide a head-banging recipe for dealing with claustrophobia

Olive Vox

Hailing out of Mansfield, southwest of Dallas, and featuring the talents of teenage brothers Parker James (19) and Caden Shea (15), Olive Vox has a sound much more mature than the members’ ages might suggest. Recorded and released late in 2021, the band’s self-titled debut EP, recorded in Denton, is a hailstorm of aggressive guitar, pounding drums and screaming vocals, all in the service of vintage psychedelic rock. 

From the opening chords of the first track, “Bury Me Low,” Olive Vox roars like Blue Cheer and snarls like the most ominous songs of the Seeds. Even though those references may seem dated, ironically and perfectly, so does the band. Sure, there’s some Nirvana-styled grunge to update the sound just a tinge, but it’s obvious these brothers have been raiding their grandparent’s record collections. Indeed, “Sunflower” features James’ obvious Cobain worship, while his young sibling plays guitar like he’s been staying up late listening to Pearl Jam and Sound Garden.

However, Olive Vox’s influences never create the sense that these guys are rote imitators. Far from it as songs such as “This is My Home,” “Middle Name” and “Denial” are loud, catchy slabs of originality, like some wild hybrid of Husker Du and Black Sabbath. “The door is always broken, because it’s never open,” sneers James, suggesting a dire home life. “No one will seek the truth, no one will approve the words,” he sings on “Middle Name,” bemoaning perhaps life in the suburbs or life as a teenager.

Only on the final cut, “Denial,” do they, ahem, lighten up. A slow, mournful guitar riff coasts along on a mid-tempo beat as James sings for just a moment before the power chords and shouts begin again. The song’s slow/fast dynamic perfectly suits the claustrophobic feeling of the entire EP. For a couple of teenagers, this is pretty damn heady stuff as Olive Vox will have you thinking while you bang your head against the living room wall.

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