(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
(originally written for www.prog4you.com)
The Box is a Canadian band that had their heydays in the late eighties, disbanded in 1992, and reformed in 2004. This album is the first release from them after the band was reformed. Personally I'm unfamiliar with the bands earlier releases, and have to measure this release on it's own terms.
And the album in question is a partially enjoyable release. The ten tracks covers a variety of musical styles; from the more ambient sounding of opening track "Lift Off" to the world music of "We Need Time", and several tracks of more or less AOR-influenced material spread out on the rest of the album.
Describing the bands musical style as such is difficult due to that. Their primary style seems to be Adult Orientated Rock, with a few twists. The songs are well produced, more often than not contain a catchy chorus, the songs come across as slick, well produced and well performed, and the vocalist has a good emotional voice, which he knows how to utilize.
But there's little tension and a certain lack of drive to the music as such. Sure, most of the tracks contains breaks and somewhat original structures, they may surprise you in how they play along from time to time, but all in all it is a bit too slick and too laid back, lacking the elements that will make you want to play this CD again as a whole.
When that is said, there are several good tracks on the album.
The best track, in my opinion, is track 7 - "We Need Time". The Box takes a short trip into world music here, with layers of vocal sounds in the background, a truly beautiful female voice popping in now and again, and catchy rhythms, as you so often will find in world music.
Other strong tracks are "Lift Off", the opening track of the album. The Box here tries out an ambient techno sound with success, creating an enjoyable space-mood that is relaxing without being boring, continuing into the next track, "Black Dog There", which develops into a more ballad type of song with what I would describe as an Irish feel to it.
"Someday" is another good song, with an almost religious mood and feel to it. Spacey synth sounds with added guitar effects create a truly special atmosphere here.
"Hell On Earth" is a catchy AOR tune, with a good drive and a catchy chorus you'll hum along to long after the song has finished.
"That's the World" is a short, catchy rock tune with a strong 70's feel to it; which sounds like a more or less like a polished late 70's Ted Nugent song.
To conclude: If you fancy AOR in general, or has a tendency to like well produced music without rough edges, this album is worth checking out.
Reviewer: Olav Björnsen