Monday, October 20, 2008

Review: The Boxing Lesson - Wild Streaks & Windy Days (* * * 1/2)

You might not have heard of The Boxing Lesson, a relatively new psych-rock band from Austin, Texas, but they've been playing with some big acts (Secret Machines, Interpol, The Bravery etc.) and making a name for themselves in their hometown. A group of three led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Waclawsky, the band apparently formed sometime in 2003, though the bio is so full of references to various planets, stars, and space missions it's a little difficult to divine much else.

What's easier to tell are the band's influences. On top of the list would be Pink Floyd, though I suppose that's obvious when the album starts with a song called "Dark Side of the Moog," a fantastic tune slightly reminiscent of its namesake. From then on it's a trippy and gloriously weird ride through variations on psychedelia.
Wild Streaks offers some truly breathtaking and beautiful moments when The Boxing Lesson are at their best, combining their traditional psych-rock sound with shoegaze textures on songs like "Muerta," "Timing," and "The Art of Pushing Me Away," all swirling mixtures of synth, guitar, and epic vocal choruses. When they take a break for pop songs, however, the album feels disjointed and confused. While "Brighter" is a decent, almost danceable 80s pop tune, "Hopscotch & Sodapop" and "Freedom" come across as unnecessary experiments in comparison to their more interesting and better executed counterparts.

While The Boxing Lesson seem more focused than some of their peers (Apollo Sunshine, Darker My Love), they feel just a step away from creating a truly exceptional album. The talent is certainly not lacking, with magnificent guitar work and a dynamite rhythm section it's apparent the band are more than capable. Once they find the best way to present their ideas, The Boxing Lesson should really take off.

Favorite Tracks: "Dark Side of the Moog," "Timing," "Scoundrel"

Check out some tunes on their MySpace page!


T.O. Snob said...

I quite liked this one too. I'm surprised it's managed to stay so far under the radar.

Here's my review of it:

Anonymous said...

Check out their new video for Dark Side of the Moog!