Rarely do I ever buy an album without listening to it first, and when I do it usually sucks more than your mother (UP TOP!). Luckily, I recently found one album that breaks the mold and I couldn’t be happier.
What’s In the Box? is the second full length album from sisters Kim and Zoe Boekbinder, known as Vermillion Lies, and it is fantastic. I had checked out their music on a whim because I am a fan of the “punk cabaret” stylings of The Dresden Dolls front woman Amanda Palmer, who Vermillion Lies previously opened for. I checked out their albums and they are very good.
I will start off by saying that Vermillion Lies is a bit of a niche band. They have a very specific style that is somewhat hard to describe. They use toy pianos, a barbecue grill, accordion, and guitar on the album, but what really stands out are the vocals, with Zoe and Kim alternating lead duties.
Of the two sisters, Kim has a more traditionally pleasing voice. It is sort of girly and lilting, but it’s pretty and works with the songs. Zoe’s voice however is a bit odd and off putting at first. Her songs sound more operatic and bluesy and hard to listen to on the first go around, but with a few listens it grows on you. Her songs are really quite enjoyable and beautiful.
Sadly this was the band’s last album, because shortly after they came back from tour they broke up to work on solo projects. Luckily for fans, the solo projects are equally as good, especially Zoe’s album Artichoke Perfume. If you are interested in finding good music off the beaten path then I recommend you pick up this album.
I can’t recommend What’s In the Box? strongly enough. It is a much stronger effort than their first album, the solid but unremarkable Separated by Birth, which isn’t bad, but doesn’t hold up all the way through like Box does.
You can check it out on their Bandcamp site here. The best part is they have an option where you can purchase for as low as a dollar. You can also get their first album and Kim’s solo projects as well. Basically there is nothing to lose, so go out and buy this album.
Final Score: 9.5/10