The Box Elders are a throwback to simpler times. When making eight-minutes ambient, difficult to digest post-rock tunes wasn’t considered cooler than thou, but when drawing as many eager kids out to the dancefloor (With guitars, no less) was the only way to gauge cool. And on Alice And Friends, The Box Elders crank out enough groovy, hook and reverb heavy surf-garage that they are truly the coolest of the cool. Maybe cool enough to be considered Myles Davis. Anyway.
It took the first seven tracks off Alice And Friends for me to crank out that first paragraph, which ought to give you an idea of how quick-moving the record is. The parallels between The Box Elders and upcoming tourmate Jay Reatard are more than obvious; the biggest difference being how raw and almost primitively The Box Elders maintain their aesthetic. Most of the tunes stay put around the 2 minute range, utilizing feel good melodies and garage rock rhythms that are just too damn fun to be taken seriously.
Sounding like it was indeed recorded in a garage, it’s not that outlandish to believe that the two brothers that front The Box Elders got together with nothing more than some old garage rock compilations and a few boxes of beer before delivering Alice And Friends. Rough around the edges at time, especially on the playful, driving “Cougars,” and the spooky, swinging “2012,” a few spins of Alice And Friends proves that the rougher it comes across, the better it usually sounds.
What is a little outlandish is to consider that instead of hiring a fourth member, drummer Dave Goldberg plays both drums and the organs. Get The Box Elders a few more boxes of beer; if what they come up with sounds half as rollicking and cool as Alice And Friends, consider it a worthy investment.
By Joshua Kloke[Rating: 3.5/5]