The Boxer Rebellion – Union


Album

Union

Label

Cross Section/Inertia

Year

2009

Genre

For Fans Of

Doves, Editors, White Lies

Summary

The first band to ever break into the U.S. Charts with no label or physical release, The Boxer Rebellion are a self-produced wonder to be in awe of.

Rating

80 / 100

Two parts English, one part American and Australian, The Boxer Rebellion are exactly what the Indie genre needs – a nice kick up the butt. Their second release, ‘Union’, may have only been officially released under a week ago, but as a digital release it conquered both iTunes and U.S Charts. One listen to opening track ‘Flashing Red Light Means Go’ and it is easy to comprehend why this band has been a best kept secret to many fans. Nathan Nicholson’s vocals are stereotypically appealing to the indie sound, yet without much effort, his voice can transform to something darker and emotive. Combining these vocal changes with a striking drum beat and beautifully contrasting acoustic guitar, this track is an instant winner.  

Second track ‘Move On’ is a softer ballad compared to the strong opener, however drummer Piers Hewitt maintains the band’s powerful rock sound through his creative drumming skills. Heavily catchy single ‘Evacuate’ showcases some impressive guitar riffs as well as the diversity in Nicholson’s vocals, making it an absolute pleasure to listen to. At first listen it’s no wonder iTunes snapped the single up in January of this year and offered it as the Global Free Single of the Week.  

‘Soviets’ as a gentle ballad is somehow fitting as the fourth track, a calming drop from the heights of ‘Evacuate’, yet somewhat sad in its composition and lyrics. This distinctive mood follows on to ‘Spitting Fire’ and ‘Misplaced’ before evolving into an electronic, Radiohead-esque atmosphere on the mysterious ‘Gospel of Goro Adachi’, a complete contrast to the sounds explored at the beginning of the album. As quickly as it appears, the electronic influence fades at the beginning of ‘These Walls Are Thin’. Nicholson’s sweet vocals blend perfectly with Todd Howe’s accompanying acoustic guitar, backed by distant and soft drums.  

As a listener, by this stage I couldn’t have thought the album could have become anymore impressive. However, the final three tracks of the album is where the heart of The Boxer Rebellion’s talent lies. ‘Forces’ is aptly named, a stunning and unique creative force to be reckoned with, while ‘Silent Movie’ provides a lingering and unforgettably charming ending to the album. 

It is very rare these days to find an album which is whole-hearted and an absolute pleasure to listen to from beginning to end. ‘Union’ is one of those rare offerings which accomplishes both.

Conclusion

A punchy, yet beautiful album which provides thoroughly enjoyable twists and turns from the beginning right through to the end.

Tracklisting

  1. Flashing Red Light Means Go
  2. Move On
  3. Evacuate
  4. Soviets
  5. Spitting Fire
  6. Misplaced
  7. The Gospel of Gordo Adachi
  8. These Walls Are Thin
  9. Forces
  10. Semi-Automatic
  11. Silent Movie

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