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Tuesday, May 28th, 2024  

Boxed In

Boxed In


Apr 02, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In the five or so years since the disbandment of his competition-winning group Keith, British master of all things musical Oli Bayston has been busy learning and growing. He spent a good chunk of time becoming skilled at the ins and outs of the studio, writing songs with Lily Allen and Lianne La Havas, among others, and being a pianist-for-hire. Through these endeavors, the London-based Boyston has formed himself into Boxed In.

His self-titled debut showcases what he’s labeling as a combination of Krautrock and house music, hoping to bridge the two worlds. Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem have both given it a go, the former a little too quirky, the latter a little too self-involved for any lasting impact. Bayston’s attempt, however, is clean and enjoyable. His songs are centered around a piano, whose warmth and tangibility grounds the studio-based side dishes of sound. Bayston’s likeable voice is a capable navigator. It especially steps up on the live looped vocals on “Subtle Knife,” where Bayston turns into a human machine repeating the refrain. Italian house is recalled, but in an earthy fashion on the jumpy key bangs of “False Alarm.” It comes together in the most balanced fashion on “Run Quicker,” which hearkens back to the early ‘90s Madchester sound, another time when dance and indie tried to become one. Randomly, “All Your Love Is Gone” has, dare we say, arena rock tendencies, but then “Bug” is gentle and intimate. Bayston closes on a super spare note on “Wild West,” where only the occasional tick and tock accompany his dulcet tones.

With Boxed In, Bayston comes as close as anyone in creating cerebral dance pop that works for the non-EDM dance music enthusiast as much as the experimental electronic rock enthusiast. (

Author rating: 7/10

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