For a band whose name comes from such an obscure historical reference as an anti-Christian uprising that took place in China at the end of the 19th century, the bookish indie sounds of The Boxer Rebellion make sense. And on new album ‘Ocean By Ocean’, the London-based quartet deliver more of the same in the same enjoyable manner.
The overall sound of the album is quintessentially British indie – Radiohead can be felt all over in various capacities, especially on the blocky, electronic crunch of ‘Keep Me Close’, and ‘Let’s Disappear’s skittering guitars take a few cues from Coasts’ tropical pop. It’s an album that thrives on care and atmosphere, and while not exactly exhilarating in tempo, it’s immaculate in its actual craft.
The band themselves sound great as well, especially vocalist Nathan Nicholson on the featherweight caress of ‘Pull Yourself Together’. Elsewhere, the rest of the band manage to live up to the expanse of their visions; though buoyed by Nicholson’s omnipresent veneer of symphonic electronics, the steady drumbeats and twinkling guitars that are present throughout this album stop it from drifting off or sounding too self-aggrandising.
It’s definitely a grower though. There’s not a whole lot about ‘Ocean By Ocean’ that immediately reveals itself, and it really only starts to become enjoyable when it’s entirely unfurled. But that’s kind of the point – this is an album that thrives on longevity, and in those terms, The Boxer Rebellion have crafted a blinder. Not one for the mosh junkies then, but for anyone who’s willing to put the time and effort in, ‘Ocean By Ocean’ presents a lot to like.
‘Ocean By Ocean’ by The Boxer Rebellion is released on 29th April on Absentee Recordings.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)