Rating: 4 out of 5
It is hard to believe that The Boxer Rebellion have been around for seventeen years, yet album number six is set to drop in the shape of 'Ghost Alive', released on the band's own label. This is said to be their most personal album to date; an album that you could say came off the back of a difficult time for lead singer Nathan Nicholson's family. 'Ghost Alive' is, in short, the band showing their softer, more intimate side.
The level of intimacy in the songs is incredible and, believe it or not, this statement even applies to opening track 'What The F**k' with lines like: 'When you fail to understand, you fail to recognise'.
Listening to this album, you could mistake it for a track list gearing up for an MTV Unplugged performance; the melodies are beautiful and the added violins just make the whole thing sound pure. The stand-out track has to be 'Fear', which sends a shiver down one's spine in the best way possible. The pairing of lyrics 'I don't fear nothing, won't you stay' with contrastingly fearful vocals is an intriguing juxtaposition.
These haunting vocal nuances marks a different direction for the band, something that you wouldn't expect to hear from The Boxer Rebellion. And yet, it all works, and it showcases how far the band have come. Don't expect anything too cheerful on this collection. Embrace the change, because the group are all the better for doing just that.
The Boxer Rebellion have shown a more mature side when it comes to nurturing their music, playing and singing with care, drawing parallels with the likes of The War on Drugs. They prove that slamming on their guitars isn't all they're good for.