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coverpic flag 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.

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