Here comes Duke of York, the new album from Hox. Comprised of Europe’s Northern-most art refugee, Edvard Graham Lewis (Wire/Dome/Duet Emmo/He Said/He Said Omala/Ocsid), and his sometime collaborator, the graphic designer Andreas Karperyd (Omala/He Said Omala/Woodwork), Hox’s second effort is leftfield eccentronica with the rough edges left unsanded.
You can catch your clothes on tracks like “Anthracite” and prick your fingers on a song like “Track and Field,” but we dare you not to marvel at the grain of “Javelin.” Lewis is one of art-rock’s most distinctive vocalists, and he’s never better than when his words are carried on waves of pulsing bass and distorted guitars.
There are echoes of Lewis’ previous work with Bruce Gilbert to be heard on tracks like “Correct Co-ordinates,” which is more Dome than Wire, despite the echo of “Map Ref 41°N 93°W” in the title. There is also clearly DNA in the outstanding track, “Goodbye,” which can be traced back to Lewis’ incarnation as He Said. Bare and exposed though the sound may be, its warmth and natural texture owes something to Scandinavian design.
As great as Wire’s last album was, this is the material we next want to see live.