Recommended if you like: Title Fight, Balance & Composure, Turnover, Basement
Richmond VA band BOXER has released their first official extended-play record, “Undertow.” The album features five tracks making up approximately 13 minutes worth of listening time. Each of the members perform with verve and measured aggression on this latter-day hardcore record. The engineering is expert and does not fall victim to over-production, a rarity in this era of the digital studio. This is exceptionally fortunate for fans of hardcore music, too, because “Undertow” features some of the most legitimate hardcore since Quicksand.
BOXER’s sound lies somewhere between Lifetime and Hot Water Music. Their powerful guitars command brightly distorted, driving rhythms interspersed with heartfelt, clean-channel picking. Their vocalists pitch-scream over this wall of sound in raw, genuine tones indicative of the 1990s emotional hardcore tradition, true to the style that made bands like Sense Field, Sunny Day Real Estate, and the Promise Ring legends of the late hardcore scene.
Veteran listeners may feel distrustful of comparisons linking modern hardcore to bygone acts like Sunny Day, or even consider such suggestions blasphemous, but BOXER has everything the Revelation Records performers had in spades, without sounding derivative. Stewart Jester and Grayson Wallace play guitar with torrential violence, their leads unadorned and spare. Between strums they provide vocals that compliment one another like glittering light on broken glass, one clear and melodic, the other grating and gravelly. Bassist Dewey Zei makes a harmonic walk of his basslines and marries seamlessly the roaring guitars to Ian Hurdle’s percussion. Hurdle’s drums go snap-smash and crack-crash in jazz-precision time with pounding, warlike intensity.
BOXER describe being in a punk/hardcore band from Richmond as a double-edged sword. “On one hand,” they write, “you are following in the footsteps of legendary acts like Avail, Strike Anywhere, and Government Warning, but on the other hand, you’re constantly trying to stand out musically in a city brimming with spectacular artists.” BOXER has nothing to fear from this, however. Among titans of the hardcore movement, they don’t just fit in – they stand out, stand tall, and stride like giants.
Praise for "Undertow":
★★★★☆ from Punknews.org
"Undertow is a stampede through five tracks of fast, passionate punk rock lasting a mere 13 minutes. What a great 13 minutes, though."
★★★★☆ from Modern-vinyl.com
"At only 13 minutes, the debut release from Boxer wastes no time in proving its potential. Using heavy yet catchy musicianship, along with dual vocals, the band creates an effective punk rock and hardcore combination. Undertow serves as a solid debut for not only the band, but Reveille Records, as well. Together, they have put out a record that is worth the purchase, and I for one, can’t wait to see what is next from both parties."
3.5 (Great) from Sputnik Music
"The five tracks combine pop punk, emo, and alternative music in a fashion similar to Deja Entendu-era Brand New, but with an edge comparable to contemporary groups such as Title Fight or Such Gold."