Haunted By Colors


Pictures Music, 2012


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


ShadowBox is the alias of singer, instrumentalist, and producer Bonnie Baxter; this highly intellectual artist pulls influences from futurist philosophies, metaphysics, space, and the balance between technology and nature and embeds them all in her songcraft. Not exactly the standard route a Brooklyn musician takes these days, but Baxter is about as far from the ordinary as possible.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Working with finely tuned melodies and vocals buried under electronic beats is quite a different path from Baxter, a woman who was previously known for her rock 'n' roll bands. Turns out she traded her guitar for a drum machine and thus the impetus for ShadowBox was born. Bypassing any sort of ideas of how proper songwriting should take place, ShadowBox doesn't find any reason to conform to any such formalities. Song structure?  Not a chance. Vocals you can actually make out? On occasion, sure. Instead, she relies heavily on repetition, hazy electronica, and hypnotic beats.

She leads off with "AM," her voice moving into different sounds – from sophisticated and soaring to more girlish harmonies. The synth is fully utilized in this track, a perfect opening that sets the mood for what's to come. "D 60" follows, sounding reminiscent of Kate Bush in a more experimental fashion, and the vocals move even higher. Though the tempo of the album is generally upbeat, things start off softer with the looped beats of "CO,” an almost soothing track compared to the rest. "Let's Not" is Baxter’s most pop-oriented tune here, a gentle and melodic listen with calming synth. Haunted By Colors ends with "Running Like A Ghost," a more folk-based offering that's quick and full of strategically placed distortion.

Though labels like synth-pop definitely apply here, anyone with an interest in electronic based music that never follows any predictable lines will find intrigue in Baxter's often R&B influenced set of pipes and her affinity toward dark, stirring instrumentation. Though there may only be six tracks on this release, each one in itself is worth the price of admission for fans of the genre.

Rating: B+

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pictures Music, and is used for informational purposes only.