Box Office Poison
United Kingdom, London
Box Office Poison
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Box Office Poison

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About Box Office Poison

In the 1990's (expired link). started a new genre of music called Pop Noir, which has a atmospheric, filmic feel and gritty lyrics just like it's sister genre Film Noir.
Production was experimental, with song writer/producer and driving force Russell C. Brennan (Aka Russell Writer) reluctant to leave the studio until he'd invented a new sound or way of doing things on the tracks.
A Book The Box Office poison Story out at Amazon tells you much more.
With a central core of permanent members and a fluid line-up of guest members the band was able to incorporate new sounds whenever required.
There are elements of jazz improv, film music, catchy pop, punk attitude and classical style in the tracks. This combination gives (expired link). a very distinctive and alternative sound.
We all know bands who say they're doing something really different, only to find that they're doing the same old thing as everybody else. Being a rebel is to go against the grain and the establishment! Nearly everyone who decides to be in a band picks up a guitar as a starting point. Box Office Poison do not use guitars in any of their tracks. They felt they were the only true rebels coming out in music. This was not a vain attempt to hype themselves into the press. It's just that they'd rather pick up a 'cello when indie guitar is flavour of the month. Also they don't just sit there ripping off different bits of other people's hits and stick them in an ever playing loop on a computer. They have a totally new way of composing songs and playing their instruments. There's plenty more we could say but we think you get the picture. As you will have gathered by now, Box Office Poison appeals to the individual in everyone!
Producer/song writer Russell uses the human voice as another instrument so on some tracks multiple different vocal tracks merge with the backing rather than float above it. Squeaking, soaring, tapping and crying 'cello adds a haunting and sometimes dolphin or whale-like sound to the intros and outros. Sax trails loosely around in the background giving some tracks a night club feel. With the addition of their unusual instrumentation Box Office Poison songs are unique (classic examples of this are Strip Show, Come With Me and Nightmare On Elm Street). They released 6 singles, three of which were double A sides: Checkmate & 1995, Mysteries, Teenage Sex & Alien, Think For Yourself & Lady Grinning Soul, Legend of Xanadu and finally Popcorn. Their debut album was Beyond The Twilight Zone (Music for the 21st Century & Beyond). Their second album was the somewhat controversial & sexually explicit Heavy Breathing Decade.
Superb vocalists DEBBIE DETROIT (from The Graduate, who later became Tears for Fears) and JO SHARP are featured on the debut album, the last BOP line up consisted of punk cellist RUSSELL C. BRENNAN (songwriter/producer of Eleanor Rigby), RON RAGE (aka Howe and ex of The Cure,The Damned and Fools Dance), Daffodil Lil (Sax) and the talented female vocalists, MOUSE and MISTY.
When the debut album, Beyond The Twilight Zone was released a critic wrote:
'Each track throws you into a 3 minute epic and makes you feel like you've experienced the subject to each song. Lyrics go from the extremes of being homeless, having sex with an alien, time travel, saving the world or passing from it - through to the more mundane emotions of everyday life, such as divorce, drugs, alcohol abuse and the general pressures of living in general (not too many love songs here!). You could conceivably say it's like virtual reality for the soul, as well as your ears'.
As for the second album Heavy Breathing Decade, far from being tacky as the title may suggest, it is quality material that would sit comfortably alongside any top pop act you could care to mention. Yes the subject matter can be strong but the music is best described as a cross between Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye), Je t'aime (Jane Birkin & Serges Gainsborough) and Erotica/Justify my Love (Madonna). But of course it has the band's own innovative 'Pop Noir' sound and instrumentation. It's got thrusting 'cello, arpeggio fingerings of harpsichord riffs and a sexy jazz club saxophone, plus hypnotic percussion, swelling organ and to die for backing vocals.
Box Office Poison contributed a number of cult film and TV themes to Future Legend's series of Themes albums which include some of the very popular Bond film themes. They also covered selected pop tracks on some of their own releases (eg All the Young Girls Love Alice: Elton John, Lady Grinning Soul: David Bowie, Louie Louie: Richard Berry). The latter track was even voted best cover of this much covered song by listeners of London radio station XFM. These tracks are always produced with an unusual twist to make them very different from the originals.
The bands influences are many and varied. They have been compared to artists such as Goldfrapp, Bjork, Portishead, The Doors, Nancy Sinatra, Kate Bush, Enigma, Mono, Ennio Morricone and David Bowie. Lyrically they sometimes have a storytelling resemblance to the styles of Paul Weller (Jam period) John Lennon (solo period) and Ray Davies (Kinks period) but their 21st Century subjects bring them bang up to date.
Box Office Poison remained cutting edge artists over several years. and made an impression . Their DEbut single '1995' was no.1 in the College charts. The Other side 'Checkmate was top 10 in the dance charts. and both went top 3 in the UK indie charts. Their second single 'Mysteries is there Masterpiece,, the 3rd single Teenage Sex/Alien (another double A single went it number one in Russia. they finally called it a day and dissolved the band in 2002. Psykick Holiday has now taken up the Pop Noir baton on the FLR label.
However a Best of Box Office Poison 'Themes, Dreams Nightmares and Schemes' was released recently so the band are happy to engage with fans once more and a gig may even be in the offing. If not the vibe continues with Psykick Holiday band so be sure to check them out.

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