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Boxharp

The Green

(Hidden Shoals; US: 3 May 2010; UK: 3 May 2010)

Dreamy, snynthy, smooth

Boxharp’s Wendy Allen and Scott Solter fuse together unlikely soundscapes constructed of organic instrumentation, recorded beats, and breathy vocals to make unexpectedly lovely pop songs. “The Green” features Allen’s voice swooping prettily over a bed of what sound like steel drums, underpinned with drum machine loops. It should be awful, but it coalesces into a lively song that is more than the sum of its parts. “Hicks’ Farewell” is one of many tunes that carry a strong air of British traditional music underneath the layers of synthesized percussion. Despite the busy sonic palette, the music fits the mellow downtempo characterization of dream pop, albeit without the jangly guitar that that genre often relies upon.


A trio of strong songs in the album’s latter half show the duo at their best, as “Sidesteppinng”, “Leatherwing Bat”, and “The Scarecrow’s Lament” feature hummable tunes and unexpected variations in instrumentation. The band falters, however, in its more ambient moments, when formless syntheizer droning serves no purpose other than making the listener impatient for the next song.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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By PopMatters Staff
29 Apr 2010
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