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May 20, 2024

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Black Box Recorder
The Facts of Life (Jetset Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Black Box Recorder's latest, the euphoric The Facts of Life is a dazzling, glamorous mix of fiery beats, soft acoustics, timid pop, and speak-sing vocal combinations that mesmerize you with story after story.

Like a good book, the words flow out of the art, while the art (in this case, the music) sets the mood, giving the stories the push they need to really impact you and bury themselves deep inside your subconscious.

"The Art Of Driving" is a slow, steamy number that moves along like a snail before the chorus hits like a sparkle, pop gleaming and hitting you like a ton of bricks. It doesn't force itself on you. It's very eager, yet 'I don't care' that you can't resist. Of course, this is the entire pace of the album.

One minute you'll be listening to the band talk with the music lightly sprinkled in the background, and the next minute they deliver a beautiful pop chorus that reels you in and has you hooked from there on out. Then there are songs like "The English Motorway System" and "Sex Life," two perfect examples of European pop bliss.

The title track dazzles with a sparkling dance beat set against a sunny pop structure. You can't help but melt in Sarah Nixey's voice, which is sugary and sweet, as well as dominating and rough. "The Deverell Twins" is a dark seductive pop song. "Goodnight Kiss" is also dark and seductive, but with a timid dance beat thumping in the background.

Exclusive to the U.S. version, "Start As You Mean To Go On" and "Brutality" are two songs you won't find on the European release. Both are jumpy, rock-tinted dance pop songs that are more upbeat than the eleven other tracks on the album. Still dark, still poppy, and very seductive, they fit in perfectly on this thirteen track gem.

Like a wicked enchantress, Black Box Recorder befriends you with easy-to-seduce pop before getting darker and more seductive as time goes on. From the golden streets of Beverly Hills to the dark, seedy alleyways of the Bronx, Black Box Recorder charms and travels them all. I'll give it an A.

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