Friday, 16 August 2013

The Boxing Lesson - Big Hits!

Album review by

Bands can change a lot in five years, especially if, like The Boxing Lesson, that's been five years of near silence and presumably not a great deal of musical collaboration between the group as a whole aside from a couple of EPs, but their comeback has so far proved to be very worthwhile. The psycho/glam of last year's double A-side 'Health Is the New Drug'/'Better Daze' and more recently 'Eastside Possibilities' which showed a punkier, indie style, both indicated that all was on track for their return to be a great one. Now the album 'Big Hits!' is here and we've had time to digest it, this does seem to be the case.

It's slightly odd that they choose a nine-minute opening track ('Endless Possibilities') to get things underway though. Given that the band are known for more accessible and much shorter songs they run the risk of turning away punters at the door. Stick with it though, because 'Endless Possibilities', even if it may have been more fitting as a centrepiece or closing track, is a very good tune and one that recalls Neil Young when they hit those guitar breaks. It's an impressive entrance if an unexpected one. Then they slam straight into the aforementioned 'Eastside Possibilities' and it feels like the party is properly underway.

As the artwork suggests, there is a futuristic, cosmic feel to 'Big Hits!' despite the genres being well worn. We're given more punky indie like the ace 'Tape Deck Time Machine', the bluesy fuzz of 'Red River Blues' and countryish 'Sweet Science'. 'Health Is The New Drug' and 'Blue Dream' add more of a psychedelic twist, the later bringing a little majestic alt-rock with it. 'Breezy' keeps the alt-rock flowing, sounding as though it's teleported itself in from about 1994 but it's packed with melody. The driving 'Hawaiian Buffalo' continues along a similar path and you realise that each song (barring the lengthy opener, and that's purely due to length) is possible single material. We are given a grand finale with the swelling grandeur of 'Fight Parade' which allows the guitars some freedom to wander. Put simply, 'Big Hits!' as an album is nothing short of rock-solid in every way.

The Boxing Lesson's website

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