If music mends broken hearts, then the sumptuous sounds of HOAX can alleviate the most wounded souls. The relatively anonymous Long Island, New York quintet should be on your radar if you fancy melancholic, saccharine indie-rock that stirs up the deepest of emotions. The five-piece collective, who formed while attending Hofstra University, aren’t concerned with trifling matters of life. They’re absorbed by the concepts that warrant deep contemplation and that hold the highest degree of merit. I say this proudly: HOAX isn’t just another tiny drop in a crowded sea of indie groups. They’re the calm before the storm, and then they’re the storm that comes afterward.
HOAX is comprised of vocalist Michael Raj, bassist Frantz Cesar, guitarist Kevin Lopez, drummer Jacob Lopez, and guitarist Paul Brower. The troupe made some waves in 2016 with two singles—“Beach House” and “Indian Summer.” The pair of songs has accumulated over 351,000 and 251,000 streams on Spotify, respectively. The aptly titled “Beach House” is a dreamy, ethereal composition. The soulful vocals of Mike Raj compliment the group’s aptitude to craft subtle R&B-induced tones within their alt-rock elegance.
The five-piece’s sound has been labeled as a mash-up of Young The Giant and Kings of Leon, just with pop and R&B elements tucked stunningly underneath it all. However, these comparisons should only be taken at face value. While the resemblance is transparent at first listen, we should know the real assessment takes much more time to uncover. That’s why with repeated listens to HOAX’s repertoire, you’ll realize their eclectic resonance offers so much more than sheer similarities to other established acts.
In 2017, HOAX released their first EP albums in the summer and fall—The Truth and Other Lies followed by words that end with wh(y). On the latter endeavor, “Barely,” served as lead single on the record, and was featured on Spotify’s “Indie Songs For Slackers” playlist within its first week of release. Once again, Mike Raj displays his vocal prowess to the fullest here as he sings with much fortitude. The band exhibits a cool, crisp, and aesthetically pleasing to the ears indie rock soundscape. It’s such a departure from the echoes of “Beach House” that you become astounded by HOAX’s artistic skillset so early in their trajectory. My favorite line from “Barely” is “Why you always want tomorrow without today?” – such a universal statement capturing the zeitgeist of today’s youth culture.
On the themes for words that end with wh(y), frontman Raj stated,
“I learned through a wise conversation that all the answers are inside of us. We do not have to sit around and wait for a Deus Ex Machina to come save us - we are the machine. You cannot connect to anyone until you have accepted that you will never be the same as somebody else. Fall in love with this reality. If you don’t, you might be alive, but just ‘Barely.’”
On the latest EP’s lead track, “Sway,” Raj’s vocals gleam, oscillating in delivery, but conjuring true beauty at every turn. With lyrics such as “We’re moving at the speed of light/(In the wrong direction),” “Sway” is contemporary and relatable on so many levels. On the other side of the coin, the musical component is allusive of a beach-y, breezy, indie rock sonic direction, but feeling as renewed as ever. Their music will warm your heart, enrich your spirit, and give you those “feels” we all long for everyday. To say the least, the band is Chicken Soup For The Soul.
Listen to HOAX below and experience it for yourself.