Box – Cherry Blossoms at Night (Miserable Pyre of Secrets)

Friday, 2nd September 2022
Rating: 5 / 10

The eclectic side of music is one that has tickled this writer’s fancy. From Öxxö Xööx, Igorrr, Aenaon, and the many styles of Ulver, music that lives in its own proverbial zip code without a care of catering to any norms is to be embraced. However, there’s a fine line between experimental and incoherent.

With Box and their latest offering, Cherry Blossoms at Night, this is a band that certainly doesn’t fit into any preconceived “box.” Maybe their name is meant to be ironic, in comparison with their many sounds? Let’s crack this expedited package open and see what’s inside.

A quick question (promise this will make sense) – have you ever considered sitting down for dinner, and eating vanilla ice cream, pickles, peanut butter, and brussel sprouts, in that sequential order? I like most of those things (hold the brussel sprouts), but eating those things in that sequence doesn’t sound all that appetizing, does it? Cherry Blossoms at Night is the musical equivalent – a lot of the parts are really good, but the final product is disjointed and doesn’t quite add up. Each song is drastically different – even to the point of wondering if it’s the same band on each track.

“Succumb” begins the parade; a catchy and thrashy tune that rocks pretty hard. Nice start! Move on to “Pulse,” and the style is changed to stoner doom with deep, gothic rock vocals. “Soft is the Motion” feels like post-rock/metal, while the title track is slow tempo synth rock. “Lifetaker” mixes some synth/organ feel of some brands of 80s rock. I could hear this in a Rocky film.

Having mentioned Ulver previously, “Spread” could fit in with Ulver’s experimental electronic stylings like a glove. “Devayne’s Lament” feels like a slow progressive rock song that doesn’t seem to go anywhere fast. Finally, “Liberate” closes proceedings out, bringing out some synthwave grooves, but a little more out there, without the payoff that the listener is hoping for.

If you take each song on its own merit, there’s plenty to like here. Box hits a different sub-genre of music on every track, and none of it is bad. In fact, a good chunk is quite enjoyable – “Soft is the Motion” and “Spread” especially. However, if somebody stated that this was a random sampler of a bunch of different bands, it would be immediately believable. Therein lies the issue. If Box combined some of the more synth driven, experimental sounds, add a dash of post-metal, with the occasional speedy thrash riff, they may be cooking up a unique recipe. Instead, this is a collection of eight songs that don’t fit together as well as one would hope. If Box finds a bit of direction, look out – the talent here is blatantly obvious. For now, Cherry Blossoms at Night is representative of wearing a few too many hats at the same time.

Box on Instagram

[fbcomments width="580"]