Red Box

  • Red Box
  • The Circle & the Square (Sire) 1986  (UK Cherry Red) 2008 
  • Motive (UK Warner Bros.) 1990  (UK Cherry Red) 2011 
  • Plenty (UK Cherry Red) 2011 

This fascinating London twosome takes an offbeat and rewarding direction on their first album, folding American Indian (covering Buffy Sainte-Marie in the process) and other ethnic folk influences into sophisticated modern pop creations for an unpredictable and indescribable pan-ethnic mélange. Unlike arid studio-based partnerships, Simon Toulson Clarke (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Julian Close (programming, flute, sax) make warm and varied music, much of it employing a vocal chorus which adds African color. The evocative lyrics bring a global political intelligence to the songs, making them not only appealing but affecting as well. Something like a less stern Peter Gabriel LP, this imaginative and engaging record is simply astonishing.

[Ira Robbins]