Personnel: Oli Bayston (vocals, keyboards); Liam Hutton (drums).
Audio Mixer: Dan Carey.
Photographer: Samuel Mason.
As an assistant and engineer for producer Dan Carey and on his own as a producer and songwriter, Oli Bayston has worked with some of indie and electropop's leading lights, including the 2 Bears. It's no surprise, then, that the self-titled debut from his own project Boxed In is a charming blend of electronic and indie sounds bolstered by witty songwriting that rivals the best that like-minded artists such as Hot Chip and Tom Vek have to offer. Boxed In's singles remain the standouts: "All Your Love Is Gone" and "Run Quicker" sound like New Order set to a motorik beat that's airy instead of insistent, while "Foot of the Hill" brings some low-slung cool to the proceedings with its driving bassline. The rest of the album proves Boxed In also have range, spanning the jaunty piano pop perfection of "Mystery" to the minimal techno-inspired "Sailing" to "Lo Life," a sweet duet with Bayston's frequent collaborator Anita Blay (aka CocknBullKid). Boxed In's approach isn't exactly new, but it's not nearly as confined as their name suggests -- they've delivered a winning debut that's often more consistent than the work of their better-known contemporaries. ~ Heather Phares