Boxed In is the brainchild of Oli Bayston, a London-based producer and writer, who formed the group with Liam Hutton, Mark Nicholls and Jack Benfield. From their first single release in 2013 with the upbeat and insistent ‘All Your Love’, their second album Melt feels a lot bigger, more declamatory than their 2015 debut.
Boxed In manage to strike the perfect balance between hype and chill; the secret lies entirely in the beautifully understated vocals; ‘Shadowboxing’ is the perfect example. They retain the driving drum beats that distinguish their sound from the crowd, but pair it with intertwining guitar solos, background synths and subtle vocal harmonies. This creates a masterfully balanced sound, giving and taking emphasis where appropriate.
‘Up To You/Down To Me’, with its partially Chuckle Brothers-esque title, is perhaps closest to their debut album. The beat is ‘Mystery’ on speed. It differs to the 2015 track in that it leaves behind the need for a catchy, sing-able chorus in favour of letting the different musical parts grow and swell, respecting each part’s need for space at different times.
Live, the juxtaposition between the new and old albums is noticeable. At their Glastonbury set, the old ones were crowd pleasers, lyric shouters. The new songs were more for the band; as easy as they were for the crowd to groove to. They allowed the musicians more headspace, more of a chance to show the audience what they were made of. ‘Underbelly’ is one of these tracks. It hooks you in with a catchy groove, and spans for five minutes, allowing time, space and energy for a proper development of the song, including a change of tempo, and a breakdown halfway through the song reminiscent of Joy Division’s pared back sound.
Melt acts like Boxed In’s older brother: you can tell they’re related, and they are undeniably similar in their mannerisms, but it determinedly differentiates itself from Boxed In in every way.