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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Box Social: Get Going

This is a bit unusual for Audio Overflow, but I was given this album back in February or March, yet since it's just now being reviewed, we're classifying it as retro. So, we have The Box Social and their debut album, Get Going. First opinion, it's okay... It's pretty average. Their music, vocals and lyrics are decent, but they tend to cap off there, never really achieving greatness. For the most part, the album is alright, but there's a few songs which lower it's status to meager. On one hand, being college juniors makes the album pretty impressive until you realize that bands like Silverchair emerged in their mid teens and then it's no comparison. Get Going deserves both some props and some slaps on the wrist. Let's proceed...

The album begins fairly solid with their track, "Ginger Ale". The lyrics are clever and the music is decent with some fun guitar riffs. If I was going to pick one of their songs to be released as a single, it would be this one. It has the most radio friendly qualities including verses that are easy to sing along with and a memorable chorus melody. I think it's definitely one of their best songs on the album. All three of the first three tracks, "Ginger Ale", "Easy Does It", and "Big T" are fairly similar... While I generally like the first song, I would have liked to hear more diversity within the first three. For the most part, the rhythms are not unalike and they use a lot of the same techniques, almost to the point of making those techniques less appreciated. For instance, they use a lot of octave layering (the singing of the same melody in consecutive octaves, making the sound overall heftier), which after a while starts to feel a little overused. Something that can be said about "Big T" is that the chorus is extremely catchy with its melody and perfectly blended harmony.

"Coming Around" begins a little differently with its slower tempo, however, this one doesn't strike the same tone as the others. The first tracks were catchier and this one is awkward at times with its uneasy sounding dissonance during the chorus. I think that they were going for a deliberate clash, which works for Sufjan Stevens in "Super Sexy Woman", but not for The Box Social in "Coming Around". Overall, this song lacks luster in the lyrics and overall delivery. Better luck next time. "Why Oh Why" is a breath of fresh air after the previous listening experience. It's spunkier with catchier lyrics that at times are so easy, it's a matter of belting out, "Why, oh why, I don't think that I deserve to cry - Why, oh why, I don't think that I deserve to die". The fun, upbeat music is capable of keeping you listening without desiring to hit the skip button. Again, the use of layered octaves is evident here, during the chorus, but in this instance, they hit the bulls eye. Also, the lyrics in "Why Oh Why" are distinctively more mature than other tracks of theirs, namely, "KCMO".

In "KCMO", I feel like I'm listening to a bunch of preteens who have just discovered the word "F@#$" and are using it as a conjunction in every available space in the song. This track is super annoying for that reason, and as a listener who thinks the word is annoying to begin with, I'm put off by this song. It pretty much goes like this ..."F@#$ the blah blah, F@#$ blah blah. F@#$ the blah blah and F@#$ you blah blah blah." The whole song literally sounds like that in my opinion, except for I believe they use legitimate English words in place of the "blahs". Personally, I like my version better. It's annoying and you can listen, but in the end, I think your ears would be better off letting this one slip on through.

The only other decent tracks are "Hot Damn!" and "Happy Little Mistake". I use the word decent because they're good to listen to, but you soon forget them afterwards. During the songs you'll hear fast paced, trendy rock with somewhat average lyrics. You'll also hear the layering of octaves again, which during this point in the album has become VERY old and almost annoying. ...and these are the two songs that I said were decent. It's a good thing that "Pay Attention" and "A New Low" are in the back middle section, because had they been at the front of the album, I likely wouldn't have continued and had they been the last songs, I might've been severely disappointed instead of mildly underwhelmed. They're completely forgettable with absolutely nothing original about them. From their all too familiar melodies to their consistently boring lyrics, these two tracks make me want to use Get Going as a coaster.

All in all, Get Going has two fairly solid potential radio hits, but when it comes to everything else, it strikes all the wrong notes. I leave feeling like the majority of my approximately 34 minutes of listening has been wasted, as I can't remember most of what I've heard, even after several listens to the album. Are they talented guys? I think so. They're good musicians that put out a mediocre album with many poorly written songs, yet no song is written so badly that it warrants an awful maybe "KCMO"...and I prefer to forget about the annoying F@#$ fest.

Key Tracks
1. Ginger Ale
2. Why Oh Why

5 out of 10 stars

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