Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs
Follow The Big Takeover
Sometimes the depth of experience can garnish the best results, when it comes to music, it is usually down to those hungry enough and talented enough to succeed. In the case of Red Box, both those statements apply, and that is the driving force behind their art. The outfit, first came to prominence in the eighties with the blending of new wave sensibilities with a ‘World Music’ sound.
From the Red Box electrifying debut, 1986’s The Circle and the Square came two mammoth airwaves staples in “Lean on Me (ah-li-ayo)” and “For America”. Their second, 1990’s Motive fared equally well critically, although the band parted company shortly after. Since the mid-noughties however, reissues of those previous albums via Cherry Red Records prompted a renewed interest in the band that began to reach cult status, and the inevitable reformation happened.
So now Red Box return, with the same passion, and hunger they originally possessed, as if time itself has stood still just for them, and that main galvanizing foil of singer-songwriter Simon Toulson-Clarke is firing with ideas. In 2011, they proved themselves more than capable of knocking out an album of importance and acclaim with Plenty. This year they follow-up that release, in the same breath it’s easier to state they surpass that offering with Chase The Setting Sun.
From the outset the fusion is ripe and ready to be enjoyed, opening with “This Is What We Came For” a carefree, good time sound echoing against the infectious, cracking beats. With a thundering chorus which all makes for a spectacular start. Rolling into the reflective title track that glides along effortlessly with sweet harmonies and memorable hooks. “Gods And Kings” has an air of Prefab Sprout to it, as the urgency of the music forms the perfect backdrop to the vocals of Toulson-Clarke as he delivers, with the slightest of social commentaries, something inspired and thought evoking.
The album really begins to lift on “Why So Few”, a slower paced track, perhaps soulful that follows the theme of the album surrounding change and that inevitable journey through time. Followed perfectly by “Say You Will” as a mournful piano figure opens only to be submerged by the rest of the band. “Ho Ho!” is a sound pulled from the eighties, with ambient flourishes that create the drama of this musical two-fingers at the doubters in society. With some studio chatter the acoustic and quite transcendent “Hurry” ignites, an astonishing track with strings added to create a haunting quality that at times becomes hypnotic.
Red Box take a twist on the expected, a cover of the Buffy Sainte-Marie number “Starwalker”. A blistering retelling with tribal nuances added, fitting in beautifully with the overall concept of the album. Followed ironically by the folk-drenched “Shadows & Wildrose” (included below), the most minimalistic on the album as the guitar patterns shimmer with a choral effect building behind it. Closing out the set with the brilliant, and nineties inspired “Everybody’s Got Some Disguise”. Red Box bookend the album with that uplifting vibe that opened the set. The emotion soaked into this song and others on the album is at times overwhelming and real. As the waves crash to close, the audience will be snapped up by these feelings translated perfectly through the music.
Chase The Setting Sun is a collection that wonderfully follows those aforementioned, previous albums. An extension from that very early sound into an updated, mature version with 21st century technology. It is faithfully delivered without losing the original charm, or for that matter the edge. Ultimately the moral here is never underestimate a band who are as determined as Red Box, and enjoy the music they create as much as their fans.
1.This Is What We Came For
2.Chase The Setting Sun
3.Gods & Kings
4.Why So Few
5.Say You Will
10.Shadows & Wildrose
11.Everybody’s Got Some Disguise
For More On Red Box;
More in recordings