The Boxer Rebellion are the metaphorical pebble trying to make tsunamis in the massive ocean that is the current alt-rock scene. With their third studio release, The Cold Still, they invest all of their creative gusto to import influences across the gamut to ultimately attempt to craft a sound of their own. With each unavoidable comparison to groups such as Radiohead or even U2, they struggle to make their voice loud enough to penetrate the critics who claim they're riding coattails. However, with each haunting crawl and creep coalescing with each booming crescendo throughout the relatively short duration of The Cold Still, they show an undeniable potential that is surely ready to be unleashed. Unfortunately for The Boxer Rebellion, this budding talent has yet to reach its full growth, and thusly we're given an album that is, for all intents and purposes, another stepping stone for a still blooming alt-rock group.
As Nathan Nicholson's vocals anxiously repeat the chorus of opener, "No Harm", he also introduces the overall atmosphere of the record. Within tracks such as "Step Out of the Car" and "Caught by the Light" he creates a variety of different moods that seamlessly tie back to a frigid, foggy backdrop for his lyrics to float upon. Unfortunately all of these must come with the comparisons to several tracks of similar bands, but are undoubtedly performed well in their own element. Luckily for them they prove their creative worth several times throughout the record, even producing some truly engrossing tracks such as "Both Sides Are Even". It utilizes the classic buildup and hits a wonderful crescendo, making for one of the most memorable tracks of the record. Had The Boxer Rebellion hit such highs as found in the gems of the record, they could have made a remarkable record - and although they hit the nail on the head several times, they never quite hit the pinnacle of what they're seemingly capable of.
While their influences crowd the record in a fairly noticeable manner, The Boxer Rebellion show that they're capable of moving into their own voice. They vary their style in an impressive manner throughout the album, with memorable crescendos and a well-maintained atmosphere paired with consistently smooth instrumentation and vocals to match. As they slowly get their bearings with The Cold Still, The Boxer Rebellion mostly do what the album title suggests by maintaining a mostly cold atmosphere and doing little to vary from it. A little simplicity goes a long way, but a change of pace for this band would not do them any harm.