Living Inna Box

box1Staying in the 4AD camp after my previous Dif Juz post, we’re featuring a group who cut through the label’s usual doom and gloom with their razor sharp electro-soul single Breakdown.

Synths and drum machines were nothing new in post-punk by ’82 but whilst acts like Human League and Cabaret Voltaire were continuing in the tradition of their European predecessors, Colourbox seemed more directly influenced by the next wave of black electronic styles developing in NYC, Detroit, Chicago and beyond.

box2On the flip of their Hi NRG pilfering debut comes the downbeat Tarantula, an epic synth-led chugger which suddenly mutates mid-track into the kind of electro-reggae beast we simply can’t get enough of over here at SBB. Confusingly, both sides of the Breakdown 12″ were recorded and released twice, the 2nd and slightly more polished version from ’83 you can hear below – the rhythmic switch happens around the 4:30 mark…

Soon after this release, vocalist Debbian Currie was replaced by lovers rock chanteuse Lorita Grahame, and Colourbox’s electro-dub-rock experiments continued til they found themselves involved in a nasty lawsuit with Stock Aitken & Waterman for an uncleared sample on their ’87 collaboration Pump Up The Volume. I’m getting way ahead of myself though, and seeing as there’s plenty more skanky antics in the Colourbox oeuvre, I’ll save that trip to M/A/R/R/S for another day. Until then, here’s artist Diana Campanalla dancing to their cover of You Keep Me Hanging On in front of one of her paintings and an inflatable guitar…


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