The first time you listen to, 'Stickers', it's nearly impossible to imagine that the brain behind it all is Athlete bassist, Carey Willetts. With its indie/electro influences, openers, 'One' and 'Throw Your Stones' sound quite distant from the sound that the alternative act are associated with. The four-piece took a bit of a break after their 2009 release, Black Swan' to sort out their directions. 'Boxes' was born and a debut EP was released late last year, gaining a positive reception.
As you listen past the first few songs, it becomes apparent that this is not so much of an abstract venture by Willetts. 'Wake Up, Wake Up' and 'Don't Look Down' feature ambitious choruses that would stand well within the Athlete back catalogue. It was probably good for Willetts to have experimented with all these scattered Owl City-like synths and impeccable beats, as inspiration for the future of Athlete. Let's be honest, they need some refreshing, if they're going to release a new album in the current climate with so many exciting acts dominating the music scene. This would be a favourable route to go down.
'Silent Alarm' is a definite high point. It bears a near-perfect concoction of elements. The hearty strums paired with a squeaky effect that sounds like a robot trying to walk and its changing tones. These aspects make it clear why the EP that it featured on was popular. 'We could be birds in flight, we could be dynamite' are the powerful words that find themselves to rhyming over and over again. There's also this reoccurring web of puzzling robot sounds, mysteriously sprouting up from time to time, like in the especially reserved 'Sharks.' The robot also finds a habitat in the album art, something a bit 'LMFAO' about that image.
The three quarters of an hour ends with 'I Can't Imagine', a sandwich track. Starting with gentle strums and a husky vocal (soft, fluffy bread), progressing to a heavier instrumental section (the meaty filling) and the return to the profound vocal, 'I can't imagine you before' (another slice of delicate
bread to finish up.) Sorry, enough of the food talk.
This is a very good effort for a side-project, let's just hope some of these fresh angles can be channelled into Willetts' decade old project - Athlete (when they decide to make a come back.) Alternatively, a second 'Boxes' album/EP would need to be more electronically experimental (more random robots would be a treat.)
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