As far as debuts go this has to be up there with the best of them. ‘Boxed In’s’ self-titled album is not only a hark back to the halcyon days of 90’s house music but also contains enough originality and likeable pop tunes to ensure its content should feature heavily on play-lists the breadth of the country throughout 2015.
Oli Bayston (aka Boxed In) hasn’t jumped into this album malarkey feet first though. The London based singer-songwriter is also a well-respected producer and has been known to tinkle the ivories to aid fellow musicians; already working with the likes of Lianna La Havas, Steve Mason, Willy Mason and Anita Blay (AKA CocknBullKid). In fact, the latter artist features on one of the LP’s stand-out tracks ‘Lo Life’. However, this release is all his own material and its ability to entertain consistently throughout all eleven tracks is testament not only great production skills but also canny song-writing. It’s extremely rare that an album has no low points but this is an example of just that.
Many of you will be familiar with the albums opening track ‘Mystery’. It’s already a 6Music favourite and most music websites have featured it as a ‘Track of the Day’ (we certainly did). It’s glorious piano and drums remind you of a time where Jesse Saunders and Ten City came before drink and the opposite sex. In a similar vain to those originals there are no synths or samples here either; this is a real piano and these are real drums and the resulting trip down memory lane is a glorious one.
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Previously released track ‘All You Love is Gone’ has been slightly re-worked for the album. The ‘New Order’ comparisons the track received previously are justified but equally should be taken as a compliment by the artist. This is the only track that moves away from the pop genre and is ironically the best on the LP. The Peter Hook-esq base thunders along like a speeding train and the tracks climactic guitars showcase an artist not afraid to cross genres.
The album isn’t all quick tempo, frenetic drums and funky deep house chords though. Both ‘Bug’ and ‘Wild West’ slow things down and both come at times on the album when a breather is probably required.
In a tight January where cash may be at a minimum, and the Christmas and New Year hangovers are still very much in existence, do yourself a favour and check out this release. If ever there was a way to remove the drudgery from the dark morning and evening commutes then this is it.
The full track-listing for the album is as follows…
All Your Love is Gone
Foot of the Hill
Lo Life (Featuring CockNBull Kid)