Box of Moxie has carved out a niche for themselves bursting with poetic gifts and considerable command over an inventive musical vocabulary. Vocalist and songwriter Stephen Jacques plays guitar on the single “Bounty from the Seas” alongside producer, recording engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Alan Weatherhead’s complementary work. Weatherhead has an outstanding history collaborating with acts as diverse as Sparklehorse and The Cardigans and it is obvious from this single alone that he is an excellent fit for Jacques’ material. “Bounty from the Seas” is the new single from the band’s seventh album release Salt Water Magic and one deserving ample attention. It’s the sort of track that defines an album for listeners. It isn’t improbable that other stellar cuts are waiting for you on Box of Moxie’s new album, but “Bounty from the Seas” sticks with you long after it ends.
The vocal is a big reason why. Jacques’ voice has unvarnished beauty coming through despite occasional production effects altering or enhancing his singing. The lyrics question listeners in personal ways and Jacques conveys the unadorned beauty of the track’s language with the feeling of a performing artist submerging themselves into the moment. He is with each word and nothing endures short shrift. He aims for integrating his voice with the music and gets there sounding confident and comfortable each note of the way. I am taken with his canny instincts for adding measured emphasis to the payoff lines for each of the song’s verses.
There are unexpected musical treats along the way during this three and a half minute stylistic synthesis of folk, a pinch of rock added for flavor, classical, and undeniable pop sophistication. Box of Moxie plays their surprises close to the vest but persistent listeners will not be disappointed. There’s a high degree of musical intelligence evidenced throughout the entirety of this recording. The song’s brief introduction may initially baffle, but you’ll soon understand it within the context of the song and the classical influence on the track gives it a fullness it would otherwise lack.
This is far from a novice recording nor the product of precocious youth. “Bounty from the Seas”” is a mature and thoughtful work of performance art and eludes easy classification..Box of Moxie and songwriter Stephen Jacques are unafraid to challenge you, but yet they entertain and engage emotions without fail. This single from Salt Water Magic brings a variety of musical styles together in a potentially combustible mix that Jacques’ songwriting skills make sense of with shocking ease. It’s a testament to the talents at his disposal.
This is no lone voice singing in the wilderness. The participation of cohorts like Alan Weatherhead say a lot about the respect Jacques commands from contemporaries and peers and Box of Moxie’s discography grows larger with each new release. Salt Water Magic and its single “Bounty from the Seas” rates among the best releases from this Virginia based project, but it’s certain even greater days are to come and I’ll be there to hear them.