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Victoria Vox – Colorful Heart Review by Nick Cody

Since Victoria Vox and Jack Maher dropped by last year to my house, I have been a fan of their work. Victoria Vox is, without doubt, one of the few artists I have seen in the ukulele world who has mass appeal to reach a much wider audience with her music. On this album that took a year to create, there is a real attention to detail and this comes over in both the performance and the production.

The album starts with the title track Colorful Heart which is a real earworm and in my view, would be a great single. There’s a rhythmic multi-layering to the sound and the production is excellent. There’s a lot going on musically and the vocal multi-layering brings the song to a climax. Crucially the sound never gets cluttered and this reminds me of the very best Madonna material while the material remains unmistakably all Victoria Vox.

Next is Out on the rails which starts with a great bassline and is more of a jazz shuffle feel. I could imagine hearing this at The Vanguard in New York. At 2.16 in length, this is a great example of how to edit a track and ensure that every second counts. It has a great feel and Victoria’s voice soars above a wonderful jazz groove.

Kick it back follows and this returns to a more pop feel but once again with a great groove. There’s a strong rhythmic feel once again that is hard to resist as a listener and this also in my view is a serious single contender.  Only time will tell is a bossa nova  and has a more folky feel with Victoria’s trademark mouth trumpet and some great harmonization’s around 2.45 which remind me very much of the Beatles. Same Dirt starts low key and then builds rhythmically and is the longest track so far at 4.06 minutes. There’s a strong melodic hook throughout the track I love the lyric “Give each other the space to breath” and it’s clear as I listen to this album that everything is very considered in both production and delivery.

Daytime Moon starts off like an Andrews Sisters track in terms of harmonies but again is very much Victoria’s sonic blueprint. The track twists and turns musically and is one of the highlights of this album. I would love to hear this live and you get the impression she’s singing just for you.

Sounds of Summer kicks off with a great bassline and reggae/pop groove with some excellent shuffle percussion. This is a great summer song and again has real commercial potential. Harmony is piano based and again features some great harmonies. Its clear to me that this album has strong melodies and well-considered arrangements. It’s extremely diverse but remains cohesive as a collection of songs. Tugboat returns to a jazz shuffle feel with Victoria’s mouth trumpet. I absolutely love the way this song swings with some wonderful vocal expression. This is Vox at her very best! Wildwood closes the album and is clearly a very personal song. This is Victoria singing to a piano and this stripped back closing track is a great closing track. I defy anyone who listens not to be moved by the emotion in this track.

Colorful Heart is a wonderful collection of tracks that showcase jazz, pop, folk themes that take the listener on a journey that is wonderfully musical but never predictable. What’s clear to me is that this is a very well-crafted album with strong musical ideas. The production is excellent, so every vocal inflection is perfectly positioned alongside some superb playing. There’s a big audience for such intelligent well-crafted music and Colorful Heart really plays to Victoria Vox’s strengths, great melodies, superb harmonies and well-crafted songs.