Review Summary: FORGOTTEN 80S SYNTH KINGS HAVE BROKE OUT OF THEIR TIME CAPSULE!BREAKING NEWS!!!
WE CUT TO YOU FOR AN IMPORTANT BULLETIN!
Miraculously the disheveled teen nerds known as “Boxcar” popular in this 80s/90s cusp transitional period have survived their nearly 30 year freeze! Without a scratch on them too, though they seem a little worse for wear considering they’re also ghosts. They can’t talk either, which is a shame because one look at them and you know they have a lot to say.
On “Vertigo” - their debut release from 1990, the act wrought to afflict the listener with equal dose wokeness at your increasingly-oppressive surroundings as well high-energy synthpop fun not unlike the Twincities-based Information Society
. For all intents and purposes, this is a bunch of computer geeks making their own Kraftwerk and having a blast in the process. Perhaps the funniest part is that it works, on Vertigo the beats are infectious as well as covertly emotional.
“I sent an angel to defend your name
How can I be wrong”
The thematic content on Vertigo is often personal and intimate - Hit & Run is a love song disguised as a bitter revenge tale. Gas Stop, which opens the record, is a certified bop sung from the perspective of someone who has been frequently betrayed. Such a theme runs throughout the record: upbeat and fun music with a dark and cynically-clever twist.
The tracks that do not have lyrics at their forefront (including the album’s title track) let the beautiful as well as darkly-comic synthwork shine and take centerplace. It was not uncommon for EBM records at the time to let the sounds themselves do the talking for their frustration but here we get a very clear picture of it - swirling metallic clangs and extraordinarily smooth midi.
The most interesting difference between this release and the original, apart from the masterful remastering and 'revisits', is the cover. The new cover is wholly antithetical to the album’s sound to such a degree that it appears almost positively deliberate. On the original Vertigo, the visual was a closed-off and guarded electronic darkness - this new cover is the exact opposite. The musical compositions themselves have retained their identity but the visual has evolved.
We deserve to hear Boxcar in a time that they are still relevant but no longer heard.
- Gas Stop (Who Do You Think You Are)
- Hit & Run