“Lie Out Loud”: BLOXX build themselves a strong reputation after a vibrant debut.
Along with Sea Girls, substandard toilet facilities and heat stroke, BLOXX were set to appear at almost every festival in the UK in 2020. The less said about that the better. But, instead of riotous live performances in high tops, the London quartet assigned themselves to the studio and promo train to release their eagerly-anticipated “Lie Out Loud”.
Releasing their first single “Your Boyfriend” in 2016, BLOXX have had a slow-burning rise to mainstream indie recognition. Despite playing support gigs with The Wombats and Sundara Karma in 2017, the band still had to work in their local Wetherspoons to stay afloat; Not the most Rock ‘N’ Roll anecdote known to man. Fronted by flamboyant, mullet-clad frontwoman Ophelia Booth (or Fee to sound less middle-class, which I’m not entirely worked), the band are following in the growing trend of the frontwoman, a tradition carried from Justine Frischmann of Elastica to Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice. This long-overdue phenomenon is quickly becoming the coolest thing in music, except perhaps not to Melvin Benn and Festival Republic, and is constantly being materialized in brilliant records. Booth’s BlOXX’s debut is no exception.
The album has been received with open arms and exceptional reviews, with NME amongst the illustrious names to give the album 4/5. I can see why, it’s is highly palatable. Beginning “In Medias Res”, with no long introduction but an instant dose of Fee flare, the record hits the ground running with brash (in a good sense) eponymous single “Lie Out Loud”. This sets the tone for an album which is not quite a punk record, but certainly has attitude. it must be noted that I’ve experienced BLOXX’s attitude first-hand, whilst watching Fee get into a fight outside Finsbury Park tube station after Community Festival, before telling my mate to “fuck off”. No hard feelings, eh? I would have said the same. The point is that it is no surprise to me, or to the hundreds of people that watched the late-night brawl, that the album has flare.
Having said that, I wouldn’t classifies BLOXX’s sound as “late-night brawl”: It’s certainly not the Chats or Slaves. No, it’s much more lo-fi than that, with the most accurate term being “indie pop”. The record has the potential to bridge the Radio One/Radio X divide which, as Mr Sam Fender will tell you, is a lucrative place to be. With a fusion of certain Paramore-esque pop-punk tunes with sure-fire indie bangers, the album itself sounds like a pretty decent setlist. The versatility seen in the seamless transition from mellow and chilled “Changes” (which unfortunately isn’t a Bowie cover) to punky and bouncy “It Won’t Work Out”, which is probably the best track on the record.
As well as this, for a debut record, an impressive level of self-control is shown. For a band known for riotous live performances, the album is not full-time dancefloor fillers and mosh pit messiness. The penultimate track “What You Needed” is an acoustic-sounding ballad, like nothing heard on the record. The resistance to a drop and heavy guitar in a debut is admirable.
Sure-fire indie bangers, mellow tracks, only 39 minutes long. The album is highly enjoyable and certainly an easy listen for BLOXX agnostics. Coming to a festival high top near you *** 1/2