US - Wisconsin - Full Moon 74 - 10/21/02
The Yell Leaders
Box Office Poison
This is the third album from the Milwaukee trio. It's an album of smooth pop-rock-soul that
didn't quite turn me on at first. It just passed by and I had to postpone the review till the
next full moon. By now I've listened extensively to Noxajoy and some of the songs stand
out. But most of the 14 tracks of the album still wander pleasantly but anonymously by. I
would've preferred some rougher edges and hooks. The band members themselves state their music
as "chock full of soul stirring, quirky, melodious pop/rock craftsmanship, in the vein of Del
Amitri, XTC, Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Rolling Stones, and even Fleetwood Mac". You might
add small drops of The Who, Steely Dan, Dire Straits, Sonic Youth and a host others too. But
the melodies generally sound weaker than the mentioned bands tended to offer in their best
hours. For me the songs probably would've been easier to embrace if I'd had the lyrics in front
of me while listening. But they're neither printed in the booklet, nor present on the Leaders
home page. "Beyond Repair" is the ultimate favourite
of the album with distorted lead vocals and instruments combined with pretty harmony vocals.
Great contrasts! "Woodward Avenue" has some of the same qualities to lesser extent. The few songs
with Mary Brown on lead vocals add more personality that a few other songs lack. And look out
for the hidden bonus track at the end.
Noxajoy is pleasant all right, like the landscapes pictured on the cover. In a way it
sums up parts of popular music history with loads of references. More yells from the Leaders
next time, and my cheers will be louder.
Copyright © 2002 JP