Reason #243: Box Frenzy

pwei-box-frenzyPWEI, a band I was lucky enough to see twice, and one that I mostly associate with their 90’s output (which is uniformly terrific stuff), is just one of those great lost bands (like the Boo Radleys, Teenage Fan Club) of the early 90’s that get overshadowed by yer Blurs, and yer Pulps, and yer Oasis. I have always considered this album to t=be the bands debut, but most familiar with their history will no doubt dispute that. Up to this point they were a punky little troupe, but everyone has to start somewhere, yes? The big sea change for PWEI arrived with this album, Box Frenzy. Prior to this, a Beastie Boys inspired, early techno classic, the boys sounded like a grubby version of the Buzzcocks.

With Box Frenzy they ditch the grebo element (mostly) and embrace technology. Their, ahem, rapping wouldn’t reach full flower until the next release, the excellent This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, This…Is This!, but they were definitely headed in the right direction. The best song here, unquestionably, is There Is No Love Between Us, a song far ahead of its time and a perfect blend of rock and mid-tempo techno.

Perhaps the most important element to Box Frenzy is their fantastic use of samples; sci-fi movie dialogue, obscure English TV show quotes, snippets of other songs, stuff like that. They would get better and better at this butactually came pretty close to perfecting it here, surprisingly. Grebo Guru, the opener and possible T-Rex homage, still sounds pretty fresh, Intergalactic Love Mission and especially their cover of Love Missile F1-11 are especially noteworthy and are also undisputed Poppy classics.

There are some duds, chief among them the childish Let’s Get Ugly and Beaver Patrol (a cover, I recently discovered!), and if I never hear those two songs again I won’t be too terribly disappointed. Lastly, there are a couple of new-wavey, sugary pop numbers that, while not offensive, are not terribly engaging nor memorable.

Sonically it is a little “of its time”, the most dated sounding of all their releases, but still…great fun!