EP Reviews: Shadowbox – Haunted By Colors
“Haunted By Colours” is the forthcoming EP from New York’s ShadowBox, once again epitomising the formidable quality of music coming from Pictures Music’s artist pool (see Rudi Zygadlo, Lapalux, Koreless, Seams…). Solo producer/musician/composer Bonnie Baxter was one of the live performers for the grand debut of Boileroom NYC last month, turning heads with her energetic live show, and with this EP she demonstrates expertly varied and balanced contemporary songwriting, with influences ranging all the way from the ‘60s soundscapes of Tangerine Dream to modern day dance.
The record is immediately engaging with the juggernaut of an opener ‘AM’, subby sci-fi Korgs quickly escalating alongside Bonnie Baxter’s stunning multi-tracked harmonies. Schizophrenic kick drums are carried along with animated percussion and hi-hats, and when it eventually erupts it smacks you in the face with crazy industrial techno that is just impossible not to move to. It’s so immediate, and yet it just gets better and better the more you listen to it.
After listening to ‘AM’ a few times (you will), there’s a generous rest with Baxter’s subduing siren voice, reaching maximum comfort with the oscillating bass, compressed beats and ‘Kid A’-recalling synth atmospheres of ‘CO’ (although the over-used ‘pow’ triggers qualify as the single irritating aspect of the record). The production is consistently impressive throughout: the same emotions are evoked with repeated use of vocal harmonies, spacey synthesizers and minimal yet direct beats, yet it never gets boring, the subtle style shifts between songs always having the clarity to feel fresh.
The sinister bass throttle and macho beat of ‘Loveless Child’ inject another dose of industrial doom to underpin the Björk-vocals, eventually becoming swamped-out by an overloaded head-rush of electronic effects, before ‘Running Like A Ghost’, the only song featuring a guitar, presents a nice bookend to the short-play.
It’s a mightily impressive record which I hope can find a strong enough audience to bring her over this side of the river for the festival circuit – this sound belongs on a big stage.
‘Haunted By Colours’ is released on 23rd July through Pictures Music
Listen to: ‘AM’