Black Box Recorder – England Made Me
CD Album, Reissue, U.S., 1999 (recorded in 1998)
Luke Haines' work, generally, leaves me cold. I admire his wit and charm, but I often feel that his songs are too forced upon. But his work with co-writer / musician John Moore and the British Chanteuse Sarah Nixey aka Black Box Recorder is another matter. I love them.
England Made Me perhaps named after an early Graham Greene novel, is gentle on the ears, but the lyrics are biting, The beauty of the bored vocals mixed in with the simple guitars and minimal arrangements add a large picture in one's head. Sophisticated of course, and maybe a tad too much of a tongue in cheek, but still its a warm album for me, even though the band does it best to be distant and unemotional. But is that not a seductive move? One can't over-estimate Nixey's talent in conveying Haines or Moore's sarcastic lyrics. I think anyone else doing it, will cheapen the affect. So Black Box Recorder is very much a balanced act – where all their strengths are focused to make a very 'smart' sort of pop. Not many can carry this off, but Black Box Recorder seems to do it effortlessly.