Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cassette Review: Boxenstien "Poltergeist"

[$6 CAD // https://boxenstien.bandcamp.com/album/poltergeist]

The music of Boxenstien paints many different pictures for me, but what you hear throughout the course of this cassette is not quite what you would expect, perhaps, based upon the initial response.   On one hand, it starts right away with this heavier guitar fueled rock number that reminds me of Judas Priest's "Breakin' the Law".   I expect vocals to come in but they don't and so this remains instrumental but still just as good.   That is to say that this one doesn't need vocals to rock because it already does.

It's somewhat melodic and can also resemble an older Fat Wreck Chords band, but then it takes a pause for something quieter that is the sound of water drops and just gives off the overall impression of a boiler room.  I think about how this whole cassette could've been variations of the first song but now it has taken this turn for the experimental and I'm not sure where it will go next so it does kind of surprise me when it goes back to that original rock formula.   I consider the water drops to be a sort of interlude and then assume we're back on the track to ROCK.

Through starts and stops we find ourselves slowing down eventually and then some sampled singing comes out like something vaporwave might do only... this is far from vaporwave.     Some Frampton type guitar singing/ringing comes out in loops and then there are ah-ah-ah's like a great rising added in by the end of Side A.    On the flip side the rock does return and so does that sampled, soulful singing I expect to be in... not this type of music.    There are trill beats before we hear some cross between a breathing machine and Darth Vader.

An audio clip comes out of talking underneath a pulsating beat and that brings up obvious notions of the "Tell-Tale Heart".    It goes back to the breathing and then some ticking comes in, such as a timebomb.    A pinball trill takes us back to the singing and I'm just left not knowing how all of that just happened- like watching twenty people get out of a clown car- because it certainly didn't go where I had expected it might, but it was definitely somewhere worth going.

You know, you think you've got these genres figured out.  You hear that R&B type of singing spliced into something else and, no problem, we think we've heard it all before.   But I've not heard this one yet and the way that Boxenstien does it definitely works for them.    As an artist trying to attempt one of these two (or more) styles, I think Boxenstien could stand on their own merits but that's just what makes the overall resulting combination so damn good.   And in a lot of ways I feel like if a piece of this wasn't so solid than the whole would suffer so you really need to be experiencing this.

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