After one album of pleasant but disposable synth-pop (1990's Peace
) and a bitter battle with its former record label resulting in the shelving of its second album, New Jersey-based Anything Box
returned with 1993's Hope
. Originally released on the band's own label, Hope
finds Anything Box
broadening its sound to include elements of contemporary techno and ambient.
The band's pop approach certainly isn't lost here; both "Every Single Day" and "Where Is Love and Happiness" could have easily become hits if Anything Box
had the promotion and support from a major label. The harsher techno elements in "Answer Me" and "Rise" suggest Anything Box
was embracing the (at the time) emerging rave scene; "Hope" and the gorgeous "Transitions" are effectively spacey ballads.
The most distinctive element of Anything Box
has always been the soaring vocals of singer and songwriter Claude S. Most acts geared toward the dance floor use vocals as an afterthought, and usually due to a lack of talent. Claude's pitch-perfect tenor has always been at the forefront of Anything Box
's sound, and on Hope
he certainly does not disappoint.
is heard as a dance record with crossover potential, or pure pop music that can also work well on the dance floor, it is definitely worth hearing for pop fans and clubheads alike.