Formed in 2015, Roxxy Collie is an indie rock and pop band from Reno, Nevada. The members have all previously worked with each other on projects including, Candyshoppe, Wheatstone Bridge, Satellite Serenade, and Octarine. Since their formation, the band has played dozens of shows in and around northern Nevada. “Altricial” is their debut studio release, on which they forge a sound that is described as ‘Midnight Sunshine Pop’. Their album is a fine collection of varied, well-crafted, melodious rock songs with intelligent lyrics, and Margy Ford is a very, very good singer who has the experience now to put these songs across with real meaning. The rest of the band – Nick Ramirez (drums), Steve Barron (guitar), Jon Cornell (keyboards) and Veronica Klinger (bass) – are excellent, tight and gutsy, but sensitive to the meaning of every song. And the production is fabulous too. It is often huge, to the point of being gloriously bombastic sometimes, and I absolutely love the result.
You have to have real skill and class to create the sort of wall of organic sound which develops here without it degenerating into a rather generic mush. Roxxy Collie pull it all of convincingly. There’s no doubt Ford is a talented, gifted singer and her intentions through every song here go from being honest to loud, and very dark. And as much as the band shine alongside her, she no doubt is the focal point.
And she is such from the very first track, “The Play I Wrote For You”, which broods and ambles forward in a steady momentum, until Barron explodes onto the scene with a set of fiery and growling guitar interludes. “You’ll Get Used to Me” goes off on a delicately beautiful rhythmic tangent, before expanding into a jangling anthem with a very memorable guitar motif.
“Cover Songs” sees the band take another stylistic turn, and I’m listening to the glorious crunch and swing of new wave meets punk. Then there’s Ford’s voice again – the constant between the albums contrasting moods and styles. As long as she’s commanding the mic, Roxxy Collie stamp is indelibly made. All of which is poignantly confirmed on the whispering slow burner “Hang Me”.
“Hard to Port” starts as another eclectic jam that keeps getting a little more intense and sonically interesting with each passing vocal phrase and surefooted drumbeat. The band then slides into a stunningly nuanced cover, of the devastating heroin addiction song, “Baby Bitch”, by Ween.
The thick-sounding bass bounce, gently leads into the soulful “Swipe Left”, before the marching Tex-Mex intro of “Your Stare” captures our attention. Only to be outdone by the reggae infused rhythm of “Last Laugh”. These are all brilliant compositions which the pulse of the music transforms from the surreal to the struggles of the human heart and back again.
I love everything that Roxxy Collie has created here, but “Stranglevine” is above and beyond a beautifully composed track. It encapsulates everything good about this band – from the instrumentation to the vocals, and the songwriting.
One thing became clear to me when I pressed play on the final, Americana-styled, acoustically driven track – “Suzisez”. From the start and across the ensuing twelve tracks, Roxxy Collie had evolved into an even more mystical and captivating entity than I had ever imagined at the beginning of this sonic journey…and I haven’t even begun to explore their affinity to ornithology, and the bird scientist – Roxie Collie Laybourne!