2020 – KeenTone Records
By Phillip Smith; Nov. 7, 2020
It’s always a delight to hear new music from The Boxmasters. With Light Rays, the tenth release from J.D. Andrew and Bud Thornton, the band delivers a dozen fabulous brand-new songs. Each of them, written and performed with a deep appreciation for the early years of rock and roll.
Beginning as a song from Bud to his daughter, “Breath Easy” is a lovely and poppy, feel-good anthem dedicated to parenthood. It is a great song to open with and segues quite nicely into “Satellite Guy”, which I absolutely adore. “Satellite Guy” has a sort of REM meets Big Star vibe, filled with infectious guitar riffs. The captivating beat sounds great with a fabulous dose of organ on the side. Doused with the delectable twang of Andrew’s guitar, “Thirteen Days” becomes this heart-racing ballad about a looming deadline for love. It’s such a terrific song.
There’s a definite air of ominousity about title-track “Light Rays”. Innocently beginning with this stellar line, “Please keep the Beatles album that I gave you. Just like me some night it might save you.”, this wonderfully dark crooner song, soon takes a delusional stalkery-like direction. It’s one of my favorites. “Drag” catches my attention quickly too, with its Blondie-esque intro. It perfectly captures the inner feelings that surface when I’m around strangers in a formal setting. I’m happy to meet them, but I’m also so very happy to leave. Resurrecting the long-lost art of misfortunate love songs, Andrew and Bud bring us “Downey Girl”. This tragic tale of a love lost in a helicopter crash, where lawnmower blades and ceiling fans spark haunted memories, is based on an actual event which happened in 1968.
Reminiscent of the variety of rock songs one would hear on AM radio in the Sixties, this record is a testament of the Boxmasters love for early rock. Light Rays is such a splendid album, it truly shines.
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