Heavy Duty Box Company is an alternative indie-punk band from a town just outside Perth, Scotland. The four-piece is made up of Lewis Beck (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica), David Robinson (vocals, guitar), Calum Grant (bass, keyboards, backing vocals) and Steve Simpson (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and have been together in some form or another since the early 2000s. After overcoming some major hurdles, they re-released their first album Who Let in the Squealing Freak in 2019 and have now dropped their second album The Box.
The Box has been on the cards since the band reformed in 2014. The inspiration was to do the antithesis of their first album. This resulted in a live album that highlights the sound of four people playing in a room together.
The first track ‘Rip Me Up’ opens with slower lyrics and crashing instruments before picking up the pace. It is a perfect introduction to the punk sound of the band. The change-ups through the song keep you wondering what is going to happen next while working as a holistic unit.
‘Medication Meditation’ has a slightly funkier start and builds up the track more with the opening. The introduction of different instruments gets you into the vibe of the song before the vocals hit you. This song has some interesting movements between the slower chorus and the faster verses.
When ‘I Witness’ starts you might be reminded of 90s indie punk with the guitars. The opening builds a tension to the track which explodes into a faster tempo and hard vocals. If this track were playing in a club, it would drive you to jump around and enjoy yourself.
‘Orbit Inane’ has a much slower and stripped back melody compared to the tracks before it. This song puts you down after you have been pumped up by the album so far. While much slower, the track draws you in and keeps you hooked from start to finish. It also highlights the versatility of the band.
‘Trying It for Yourself’ is another slower track with a stripped back melody. The melody helps you connect with the lyrics which are quite deep and something you need to listen to. This track also showcases the harmonisations the band is capable of and adds a little folk vibe to the album.
The opening to ‘The Watchers, the Warriors and the Weeping’ is exactly what you expect with that title. This is an epic track with cinematic scenes and vivid imagery built from the start. There are amazing guitar hooks and riffs while the vocals swing from heavy to soft.
‘John Elder’ hits you hard with guitars and was written about a story in a newspaper. The beat of the track is catchy while the vocals and lyrics match the arrangement. While this is a short track, it is fun to listen to.
The next track ‘Calibrate’ has a different opening that grabs your attention. The track is about trying to change the direction of your life. The lyrics lay out the feelings of being undecided and how hard it can be to take the steps you need to.
‘Wooden Apocalypse’ is another shorter track, but is much harder than ‘John Elder’. This track is reminiscent of Blur and punches you from the first note. It is a great track to move about to and a great addition to the album.
‘Soul Surveyor’ has a gentle opening that draws you into the song using easy guitars, drums and smooth vocals. The song picks up the pace to match the journey of the lyrics before softening again. This track is possibly my favourite from the album because of the changes it goes through and the message in the lyrics.
‘No Shit Sherlock’ brings in the harmonica to add a little something extra to the track, particularly the opening. Overall, this song has a very different vibe to the rest of the track. The opening melody drives the track with electric guitars interspersed for the bursts that round out the song.
‘A Day Again’ opens with very 90s alternative guitars and vocals that meld perfectly with them. The threads of guitar through the song grab you and draw you along the lyrics and melody. This song highlights the raw intensity Heavy Duty Box Company has become known for.
The last track of the album is ‘Times Parody’ and was written after watching a documentary about Terry Pratchett looking at assisted dying. This is a heavy and somewhat dark track that has a bit of trippy guitar spread through it. The song is the longest on the album, but also the perfect closing for the album.
Heavy Duty Box Company blend raw intensive, trippy soundscapes, melody changes and catchy hooks to create the anti-beauty of The Box. The album has all the energy of a live performance with the ‘raise the roof’ energy the band has become known for. Each song adds something new to the album while highlighting what the band has to offer.