In the world of CD art, The Boxing Lesson would be considered minimalist. The booklet, the back art, even the art on the disc itself is just one picture in various forms. In the musical aspect, they might be considered minimalist as well. But that’s just an incorrect label slapped on them because they play quiet music. Their melancholy meld of dream-pop, psychedelica, and shoegazer is easily accessible, but also easily taken for granted. When you relax, you just take in skin-deep stuff, and never really get into the musicality that makes it so relaxing.
As for musicality, it is intense throughout. Each of these soft, sweet epics possess sleep inducing guitar parts, but they are in tempo and distinct, unlike some. They do get a radiohead-like distortion quality at times, but mostly the melodies are fluffy like pillows. The drums and bass are extremely good supporting actors: they contribute often and well, but never steal the spotlight. Also good support are the dreamy, swooping vocals. Despite the high talent and quality of the vocal lines, they serve strictly as an afterthought to the music. In fact, most of these songs could be without vocals and still be pretty good. That’s a big thing to say, because these songs average a length of 5 minutes and 45 seconds. If you’ve ever listened to a six-minute slow song, you know it’s either fantastic or positively horrid. Usually bands can’t even pull off one, but TBL packs two fantastic ones on one album. It was so good that I, a music critic who separates work and play, felt compelled to play this in my spare time. In fact, One of the two six-minute tracks, the best track from the album (“Hard To Fake”) is so comforting that I used it as the coveted ‘Last Song of the Night’.
I give The Boxing Lesson the tin medal (the highest award I can give) for creating an ambitious album that succeeds on all cylinders. It’s soft, it’s creative, it’s intricate, it’s beautiful….What else can you ask for in an album? A pleasant sleepiness overcame me when I finished listening to this, and it will get you too. That yawn is proof that The Boxing Lesson is doing their job right. Congratulations.