Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley and Brad Kopplin
More and more empty nests are getting refilled this time of the year than any other. The head tassels are being flipped from one side of the cap to the other, long-winded speeches about the world being an oyster and encouraging the world's future to get out there and give that fictitious 110-percent are being given and congratulation is always followed with a money-filled Hallmark card. The cakes and carrying on indicate that it's a celebration, but for most on the receiving end, these late May and early June weeks are fraught with worries about what's next. They've got those college diplomas and half a mind to catch a tiger by the tail and be dragged until the striped beast tires, but then reality sets in and it's most apparent that they don't have a clue what they're supposed to be doing.
They knock around the hometown for a few months, the stagnancy just feeling like another summer vacation, but then the fall arrives and that's when it gets awkward. You're not going anywhere. You're not anywhere at the moment, really. It's being stuck in a dark, windowless room and the air's getting thinner. Not only is the future for dreamers, but it's also for those who believe it's never going to arrive. It will always be around the bend and those are the people who used to be dreamers. A nasty combination of the present and the future is the reason that a 10-year high school class reunion usually isn't long enough to want to face any of those people again for the first time since they last heard you wanted to be a doctor. They can see, or you'll have to tell them, that the doctor thing didn't quite pan out as you had expected it would.
Voxtrot - Austin's newest group of wunderkinds - writes records (okay, mostly EPs before the release of its self-titled, debut full-length yesterday) that explore this transition period when reality's showing how scary it can be in the daytime, without any makeup or gloss or shadows. They aren't writing songs about how bumping the dance clubs are, for they're of less concern than ever before. They're young men growing up and into the lives that men have to tackle or be swallowed by attempting to tackle them. Relationships are changing quickly - people are coming and going through the turnstiles and heads are spinning like electric mixer beaters.
Ramesh Srivastava is the main reason for these themes - not all of which explore that new relationship with reality. His lyrics delve into the mind of people straddling the line between youth and that which becomes old age, maybe not today or tomorrow, but before you blink. Friends get a new look-over. Those inner thoughts that could just be dismissed until "later" now have to be posed. They must be seen and heard. Srivastava gave up a different life over in Glasgow to come back and be a lead singer in a rock and roll band. You do something like that and you're going to have more to mull than pretty girls and their heartbreaking nature. You're going to need a purpose and Voxtrot, with its glee/glum hybrid of jangly pop, has a purpose - providing a soundtrack to the fitful times and preoccupations that don't become harmonious with everything else until you've taken the course and made it through finals, which are always dillies.