2021 has been a mixed bag for Huddersfield man-band Boxteles. Two, yes two town centre performances with Huddersfield BID’s ‘Super Saturdays’ have been cancelled due to the Great British Summer weather making town strongly resemble select parts of Venice. But if the weather got the boys down, the imminent release of their debut EP ought to put a smile on their collective face.
Comprising six tracks, Break-Ups, Bevs and Thinking Ahead will be available to the masses on Friday 6th August, and begins with the reading of a poem by friend-of-the-band Liam Oliver. Remember Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)? Well, imagine that, but over an eerie, ominous backing track, much shorter, and very, very Northern. Got it? Good.
Little Towns tells a classic tale of indecision. Do I stay or do I go? Settle down where you are, or take a risk and go out into the great unknown? I’m probably biased, but the line “don’t ever let them tell you it was ‘just alright’” should be words to live by when you’re from Huddersfield. There will always be the naysayers, the doubters, and the ones who love to moan. But Huddersfield is far from just alright. And I’ll happily fight to the death* anyone who disagrees, citing parking/bus gates/student housing/closure of large shops as their main reason.
The next track is the punchy and uplifting D’you Mind, which previously resided on the B-side of You Can’t Fall In Love For The Sake of It which was released in April. You can see what we had to say about that here.
Track four, which will be the next single to be released by the band, is Let Him Go. It’s a foot-tapper to be sure, and with lines such as the superbly Northern “I’m so bloomin’ buzzin’” you could be forgiven for thinking this will be a positive, love story of a song. So now I’m going to burst your bubble with some of the blurb about the meaning behind it: “ Let Him Go deals with the so-often unspoken subject matter of abuse in a relationship from two perspectives. I’m sure many of us have been that person trying to get a friend to see how badly they are being treated!”
I believe this is what kids these days refer to as ‘relatable’.
Hot on the heels of Let Him Go, we get our love story. In order to describe I’ll Never Name You, I’m simply going to copy over the note I made on my first listen;
“I’ll be your nightlight – adorable. Happy, romantic, summery. Feels like it should be over a blossoming-relationship montage in a movie about unrequited love. Set in West Yorkshire, of course.”
From 2:55 to 3:25 there’s a truly stunning instrumental part. No offence to frontman Tom Bedford, he can bloody well sing, but the soaring melodies that occupy that 30-second window are quite simply delightful.
As Ol’ Blue Eyes would have said, “And now, the end is near”. But, Frankieboy, we’re not there just yet. We have Last Night at the Prom to delve into first!
Now, I made more notes about this track than the others, and possibly more than the rest put together. The first thing I wrote was ‘Back to the Future?’, as the first 53 seconds instantly triggered memories of Hill Valley High School 1955’s Enchantment Under the Sea dance. I could almost hear the crinkle of taffeta and rayon.
There’s even a shwaddabopbop. Yep, a shwaddabopbop. How many EPs do you reckon there’ll be in 2021 that include a shwaddabopbop? And on that note, how many times can I include the word shwaddabopbop in one review?
As mentioned above, the 53-second mark is where the nostalgia ends. This is where we’re hit in the face with a fast-paced, energetic change of tempo and style. Throughout the track, there’s a few musical cliches but used in a way that makes you think ‘Ooh that’s a bit cheeky’ rather than ‘oh my goodness I can’t believe they did that’.
If you find yourself humming Going Underground by The Jam after you’ve come to the EP’s conclusion, you’re not the only one.
Luckily for you lot, you don’t have long to wait before you can download, stream, and ask Alexa to play Break-Ups, Bevs and Thinking Ahead on your device of choice. This Friday – yes, the day after tomorrow – is the day.
This month is going to be manic for Boxteles, as not only are they releasing their debut EP, but they have two gigs lined up (and these ones are indoors, so the rain can’t stop play).
The most important gig isn’t far off; Saturday 14th August at Queen Street’s one and only Parish. If you’re in any doubt about how excited the band are to be performing in front of real live people again, just check out their socials. They really are so bloomin’ buzzin’.
If for some reason you’re not able to get yourself to the Parish for the gig on the 14th – and it really ought to be a good reason – you might want to consider hopping over to the wrong side of the Pennines and catching Boxteles’ performance at Off The Square on August 20th. But really, try and come to the Parish. I don’t know what the situation is with vaccinations to travel across the border to Mancland. Better play it safe. Come to the Parish.
*probably won’t fight to the actual death. Just poke you a bit until you see the error of your ways.