The Boxer Rebellion makes a mediocre comeback


The Boxer Rebellion returns to the music scene after three years with the release of its fifth album “Ocean by Ocean.” Resonating vocals and instrumentals conveying both love’s freedom and melancholy fill the indie rock album. However, the album falls short as the band’s sounds fuse together and lack the diversity necessary for a dynamic album.

The first single “Big Idea” establishes a promising start to “Ocean by Ocean.” The lyrics detail the feeling of falling in love with someone at the wrong time while short guitar riffs and deep bass sounds complement the high-pitched airiness of the flute. Frontman Nathan Nicholson’s powerful vocals and the rhythmic rolls of the drums establish this song as a classic rock anthem.

“Keep Me Close,” the second single, has a more exposed tone with its choppy vocals and ominous instrumentals. The sincere lyrics convey the nerve-wracking emotional vulnerability that is necessary in a romantic relationship. Falsetto chants of “keep me close” fuse with the song’s simple sounds, expressing the depth of emotion invested in love.

The most distinctive songs, “Weapons” and “Pull Yourself Together,” feature catchy and unique melodies. “Weapons” integrates a pop vibe with the classic rock song, creating rhythmic sounds that lead to automatic head-bobbing. Nicholson’s dynamic vocal range, the moderate tempo and appealing melodies make this a fresh and versatile song for any playlist. While “Weapons” is upbeat, “Pull Yourself Together” takes a more serious approach to love with a song about calling a lover to return. The dominating acoustic guitar and the harmonies of the accompaniment make this slow ballad a tear-jerker.

While the album contains a cohesive sound, the songs are too similar to each other. As the album progresses, each track almost sounds like a combination of instrumentals from the previous songs. Consequently, the “Ocean by Ocean” seems to lack a diverse sound. Even so, the heartfelt lyrics add another intimate dimension that separates the band from other artists.

“Ocean by Ocean” comprises full vocals and touching lyrics that journey the different paths of love. While this album overall offers a different spin on the indie rock genre, some songs were too homogeneous for my liking. Unfortunately, the repetitiveness and lack of instrumental variety among the songs fail to distinguish the band above the music scene.

By Anita Chuen, Manager
Photo courtesy of iTunes

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