From the beginning, ZOX has managed to build cohesion out of contrast. Look no further than the band’s twin frontmen: one is a tattoo-covered conservatory violinist with a history of trashing dressing rooms at Carnegie Hall, and the other a buttoned-down Type-A who turned down an offer from Stanford Law School to keep up the band. ZOX’s eclecticism has endeared them to their cultish following, but they have remained largely on the fringe of mainstream media. Instead, the band has thrived in the chaotic wilderness of the internet underground, developing the rare skill of writing meaningful, memorable pop songs that are genuinely interesting to listen to. Over the last four years, ZOX has sold thirty-five thousand albums, performed at the legendary Reading & Leeds festivals in the UK, and logged nearly 1,000 shows with everyone from the Warped Tour to Rusted Root. They’ve developed an unusual sound, which features an electric violin run into a guitar amp, earnest, vivid lyrics threaded through unadorned melodies, and a rhythm section that seems to swing effortlessly between making you dance and making you think. And with the release of "Line in the Sand", their third album and first on LA’s SideOneDummyRecords (Gogol Bordello, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Flogging Molly), ZOX demonstrates that contrast is, in the end, what makes things stand out.
Produced by John Goodmanson (Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater-Kinney, Harvey Danger) the 11 songs on "Line in the Sand" are equal parts 80s college radio, modern indie rock, and timeless folk. The band’s legendary live show has long been a dynamic mix of playful mayhem and emotional contemplation; this album is the first to capture both extremes. The triumphant title track, the despondent-but-uplifting “Goodnight”, and the gorgeous “Seventh Avenue Prophet” have a catchiness, a lyrical poise and an instrumental intricacy that make them resonate, listen after listen.