Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The Boxing Lesson takes us to those places where we're about ready to witness something that's going to get us racing. We're just about to see one or more people turn on a fight or flight chemical reaction that might cause them to do something or a series of things that are uncharacteristic for them. It could mean balling up their firsts in self-defense, readying their own sack of a body for impact, for the other fists of other hands. It could mean retreating, making like a tree. It could mean opening up and revealing highly sensitive material just to minimize what could come next in the procession. It almost never involves a situation where that sack of a body would just stand there with a head bowed down to rest upon the chest, checking out the ground like a depressed hawk, poised on a fence post or up in a spruce tree. The Austin band presents us with the kind of scenery needed to draw out our own version of action, of the consequences that are coming down the line. They make a fire and like all fires - they start small. They feed and they feed and then soon enough they get so large and ferocious that someone or a group of like-minded individuals decide that its taming should be the next thing on their agenda. So it gets pared down - this time the band does the deed voluntarily - dousing the jolts and the sizzles until they can hear their own thoughts again and soon enough the rabble rousing begins again and there's a new sort of disorder to contend with. The songs on the band's last album, Wild Streaks & Windy Days, are anchored by nothing if not the spacey and hungry vocals of lead singer Paul Waclawsky who finds a way to kind of take us to the dreamy and grungy places that Soundgarden took us to way back when and also the places that Black Mountain and those modern droners/thrashers take us. All the while the music maintains an ambivalence that is a dark side of insomniac diggings and dealings that feels about ready to spring out of the corners and just scare the hell out of us with stark degrees of discomfort and anxiety. It's a buzzing blend of frustration and acceptance and it's a warning to the moonlight that tonight's the night that it might die and it will see the three faces of The Boxing Lesson standing over it as it closes its eyes for the last time, staring back with six eyes of steel and more darkness than the night's ever witnessed.