Loz Bridge and the Box Social “Witches” (EP, Independent, 2009)
Brave attempt at a Waitsian sound.
While Bridge and his band rightly namecheck Tom Waits and Nick Cave in their publicity it’s a brave crew who set themselves up against such stellar sparring partners. There’s nothing here to match the gravely gravitas of Waits or the hellfire and brimstone of Cave. Instead there are hints of G. Love and at times even a trickle of Tim Buckley. Much of this is due to the instrumentation with double bass prominent in the mix. Bridge has a light voice which in “Sarah and the Wolves” leads to the Buckley comparison.
The title track is a carnivalesque romp and is the closest to Waits we get here. With some excellent guitar interjections a la Marc Ribot, the lyrics would not be out of place in one of Mr. Waits’ discarded notebooks. “China” hovers more towards the blues jazz soup cooked up by G. Love and Special Sauce although the introduction of banjo does lend a distinctive flavour. After this the band lose the bite evident in these songs with ”November “proving to be a bit of an early nighter, smooth radio lite jazz chops are OK but Bridge does not have the vocal chops to carry this off, Chet baker would have walked it. The closing song, “By the River” brings the EP to a close on a stronger note. A banjo led blues tale this again would have been improved with a bit more muscle.
Overall they do show promise but more in the vein of the two opening songs and a bit more bile would not go amiss.
Date review added: Monday, February 02, 2009
Reviewer: Paul Kerr
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