Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Box of Crayons — Colorblind Chameleon
(WMMS 73, 1997, CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 1999-01-01This one took me several listens before I could even begin to pin it down enough to write a review. Covering a wide spectrum of art rock, Box of Crayons are certainly interesting. Their starting point is usually the acoustic guitar, laying down friendly, tuneful songs with nice lead vocals that are kind of a cross between Brett Kull and Peter Hammill. Quite often, however, the mix includes such colorful instrumentation as clarinets, vibes, trumpet, keyboards, samples, and so on, somehow making each song sound different from the last. My favorite was the spoken word piece "Ashes, Ashes," which pits a real neat recitation over some cool vibraphone backing. A sample from the lyric: "...holidays past when Irving Berlin songs came true and father looked a little bit older and grayer than everyone remembered..." - that's pretty evocative. Then, the next song goes into a Camel-like instrumental (circa Stationary Traveler), and the song after that reminds me of IQ. "Busy Signals" predictably uses telephone sound effects, but they are disturbingly effective in providing the pulse for this rather bleak tune. The packaging contains lots of crayon art, along with an invitation for their fans to color in their own Box of Crayons logo and send it in (in the interest of "interactive art"). Yes, this is esoteric stuff, and though I'm not sure if I like it yet, it sure got my attention.
Related artist(s): Box of Crayons
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