steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Torch Marauder

"Boxers, Painters and Snappers" CD

Pox World Empire

Genres: cult rock, indie rock

Pox World Empire
1512 James St.
Durham NC 27707

Jul 26 - Aug 1 2004

Everyone likes to be silly, sometimes.  Comedians like to be silly.  Actors like to be silly.  And once and awhile - a very, very rare while, I'll admit - musicians like to be silly!

Such is the case with Mr. "The Torch Marauder," whose Boxers, Painters and Snappers album is now available from the North Carolina based Pox World Empire label.  This excitingly elaborate compact disc contains twelve quirky, fun-filled songs.  The band's enthusiasm is infectious, but can become tiresome after repeated listens.  I've listened to Boxers a number of times now, but its lack of memorable hooks could prevent me from bringing it out again in the future.  Even with a nineteen-person back-up band ("The Sometimes Lonely Musicians"), The Torch Marauder relies a bit too much on funny lyrics and instrumental wackiness to sustain the attention of most discriminating music enthusiasts.

However, don't go thinking The Torch Marauder is a boring musician.  Some of his songs are quite enjoyable, in their own way.  "Where No One Is" intersperses gritty indie rock with short bursts of squally, free jazz.  "Within Earshot," meanwhile, brandishes an exciting, Jon Spencer-esque hipster-rock influence.  On the other end of the spectrum, "The Aging Wrestler" is a touching, cello-and-violin-led tale of a professional ring warrior reaching the end of his career.  Highlights such as those previously mentioned are sure to be enjoyed by open-minded listeners, so long as they can get over the disc's staler numbers ("Windmills" and "Petty's Right", for example).  Boxers, Painters and Snappers is a spirited, though occasionally non-engaging listen.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]