Since their first release back in 2001, The Boxer Rebellion has taken time to prepare for their upcoming second release titled ‘Union’.
While sitting back and listening to this release, it didn’t really produce any excitement, sentiment or enjoyment. Each song began and finished without making much of an impact. Through many of the songs there was a constant pattern - a running drumbeat as a base with guitar-based melodies on top and vocals placed as the point of the musical tower. There are very few exceptions to this pattern and not particularly individual songs but rather segments of a song. ‘Soviets’ for instance has an acoustic guitar opening. ‘Misplaced’ is once again guitar based and even though the repetition of the drumbeat is present, it is the guitar, which is a focal point for the song. ‘These Walls are Thin’ may be the album's only pure exception as it is running alive with guitar and piano melodies.
Vocally this album mostly sounds unstable. The manor in which the vocals float above the music rather than blending in and playing of its passion and strength is a down point; its sounds to have very little emotion and meaning. How can a listener be expected to be intrigued and entertained with a piece of music that has no feeling? Anger, contentment, sorrow, annoyance or mystery, anything would have been more pleasing to listen to than a man practically speaking the words to a song that is bland. ‘These Walls are Thin’ may be the only tune that actually appeared to have some sparkle.
‘Union’ will not arouse the passionate rock fanatic, the placid pop extremist or the melodious indie lover. So who will be content from such an album is a mystery.