Even though their name states confined, this electronic quartet is anything but. Imagine a dark brooding orb with a spontaneous stream of beautiful colour bursting from the floating sphere, this is the way to describe Boxed In’s self titled debut album. The band is currently on a five day UK tour and is to play Manchester’s Deaf Institute tonight.
Their songs are simply constructed, permitting the listener to get lost within the mixture of cutting cluster chords and thick bass, yet all held together with tactful drums that really makes the music come alive. The two released singles “Mystery” and “Foot of The Hill” sum up the split of styles Boxed In do best. “Mystery”, “Subtle Knife”, “Sailing”, “Bug”, “Lo Life” and “Wild West” have a Thom Yorke-esque spacious vibe, especially in the song “Bug” where the listener can be transfixed with the pushing piano and wholesome tone in the vocals. Meanwhile, the other half of the album has a much more intense feel that will encourage an audience to come out of their hypnotic trance and kick back up the energy.
Boxed In are able to master both of these styles to the lead vocalist and electric pianist Oli Bayston, a songwriter, producer and sound engineer for other projects in past years, sculpting his trade in the music industry for the release of Boxed In. The bands Bayston has worked for in the past include big names The 2 Bears and TOY and similarities in sound and ideology can certainly be heard between the three.
“Wild West” is a great example of their songwriting skill. Again, the Yorke vocals return but with writing handy-work reminiscent of Damon Albarn circa 2014’s Everyday Robots. All band members are mentally on the same page, they know exactly what to do and when and how to create a great ending to the record.
This debut will undoubtedly mark the start of a career that will be held in high regard by a lot of different types of music lovers. With influences from electronica and some alternate jazz elements, Boxed In will definitely keep an audience enjoyably intrigued. The Deaf Institute is an ideal venue for Boxed In thanks to its theatre-style seating at the back facing the stage, allowing for a more performance-style setting. Not one to be missed.
Words by David James Pollit.