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BOX OF CRAYONS

Crossover Prog • United States


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Box Of Crayons biography
Late 90's American band who perform neo-prog with lots of keyboards in the vein of MARILLION and IQ, with some ALAN PARSONS mixed in ("Tales of Mystery and Imagination" era) plus a bit of narration. These are their main features but their material really covers a wide spectrum of styles brought on by the use of clarinet, trumpet, vibes, samples and various percussion instruments in addition to traditional rock instrumentation.

Most tracks on their album "Colorblind Chameleon" (which features 17 musicians) start off with some acoustic guitar then take on very different shades from one tune to the next, from neo-folk to jazz to highly sophisticated symphonic prog. It is a hard to pin down this material to one style as you'll recognize IQ-like passages one moment, CAMEL-like instrumentals the next, and a variety of other influences within each track - including an exquisite narration over some cool vibraphone backing (their vocalist sounds like a cross between Brett Kull and Peter HAMMILL). Perhaps not essential but certainly very colourful.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy BOX OF CRAYONS Music


Colorblind ChameleonColorblind Chameleon
Import
Lost& 1997
Audio CD$23.57
$0.01 (used)
SuperpopcornSuperpopcorn
CD Baby 2006
Audio CD$11.13
$32.96 (used)

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BOX OF CRAYONS discography


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BOX OF CRAYONS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.66 | 7 ratings
Colorblind Chameleon
1997

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BOX OF CRAYONS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Colorblind Chameleon by BOX OF CRAYONS album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.66 | 7 ratings

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Colorblind Chameleon
Box Of Crayons Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A totaly forgotten and unknown american band from mid 90s named Box of Crayons with only one album released named Colorblind chameleon from 1997 issued at excellent label Music Is Intelligence. The music is something between neo prog with crossover passages, something between Big Big Train same period with Alan Parsons Project meets IQ, the result is quite ok most of the time but not fantastic. The wider musical spectrum of this band makes from this album hard to get from one take, from complicated arrangements to acustic parts, Box of Crayons is an intresting and in same time unknown band worldwide. Also there are some narration here and there, plus that the vocalist remind me of famous Peter Hammill in places. In the end a colorful album with ups and downs, might be a curiosity for most of the prog heads out there. 3 stars for sure, nice art work.

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 Colorblind Chameleon by BOX OF CRAYONS album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.66 | 7 ratings

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Colorblind Chameleon
Box Of Crayons Crossover Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars I play this musical roulette game once and a while where I rifle through listings of band names looking for something that stands out, and then look for albums from them on-line that are inexpensive. The odds on finding something really remarkable is slim, but you can actually get used CDs on-line from some vendors for little more than the price of postage, so the risk isn’t very great either. Well that’s how I found these guys, and this isn’t a remarkable album or even a very good one, but it’s fodder for some speculation as to why and how it came to be made anyway.

It goes without saying that I know little to nothing about this band, and there is little to nothing on-line or in any music magazines that I read to shed much light on them either. It’s probably safe to say this isn’t really a band though, but rather seventeen musicians who don’t appear to have much in common other than that they are all musicians (and that they all appear on this record). If anyone knows more about them you should be able to locate me from the heading on this review, so shoot me a message and clue me in.

The album was recorded in Redmond, Washington and Wilsonville, Oregon but released in Germany in 1997. The liner notes consist of a legend that lists the players with little color-coded blocks (crayons) next to them and symbols that represent the instruments they play. Each page has the lyrics to a track with the symbols and color blocks of whichever musician appears in that song. That’s about it. No real clues as to the various players’ backgrounds or why they bothered to make the album.

I have a theory, but it’s a little far-fetched. There are possible clues in some of the lyrics:

“breathe out, let go your futile puppet strings and feel the warm wind of tranquility”

“signal soliloquy, find sobriety in the face of the enemy”

“share the common blame, raise your head in shame; fulfill the role again”

“a vision pursues me, a specter from my past; only one of the many who hang in my closet next to terry cloth robes”

“refuse to remember, ignore the gnawing, muted bite; gnawing like a numbness – welcome forgetfulness”

And the closing line

“open up – open offer, in the sea there is laughter; you will sing serenity’s sweet song”.

Sure sounds like this is a bunch of AA guys putting together some sort of penance rehab project to me. Like I said, this is a pretty far-fetched theory and probably wrong, but it’s about the only thing I can think of that makes sense. This would explain how a journeyman jazz musician, a high-school music teacher, a real-estate agent, a preacher (or at least someone who calls himself that), and a bunch of people whose backgrounds are a mystery could have come together to make a record in America that gets distributed by a minor German importer.

As for the music there’s a little bit of everything here. The opening “Calico” sounds like a soft-rock and slightly folk tune with acoustic guitar and some male/female vocal harmonizing before the guy abruptly launches into a throaty almost metal vocal passage. “Circles in the Rain” is more electric and moody neo-prog piece, while “Ashes, Ashes” is some sort of odd spoken-word poetry slam or something with acoustic backing. “Tapestry”, “Paradox I” and “The Hurting Place” offer up more neo-prog, with “Tapestry” also being an instrumental track; while “Mona Lisa” is a sultry jazzy number with horns and acoustic percussion. “Box of Crayons” is a weird and avant-garde bit of discordant strings and digital loops and gibberish shrieking vocals (this is also the only track whose lyrics aren’t listed in the liner notes). Finally there’s a reprise on “Calico” and the album ends.

Not sure what to make of this record, and although it covers a lot of stylistic ground there’s isn’t much of it that really stands out. I’ll go with two stars here since this doesn’t really qualify as good, only as a curiosity. If you come across it and decide to buy it yourself, or know any more about the group, let me know and I’ll revisit this review if it seems warranted. Otherwise I’d personally recommend skipping this album.

peace

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 Colorblind Chameleon by BOX OF CRAYONS album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.66 | 7 ratings

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Colorblind Chameleon
Box Of Crayons Crossover Prog

Review by Chris H
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What do you get when you take about 5 keyboards and God knows how many different percussion tools? It's Box of Crayons!"Colorblind Chameleon" is a very eclectic album, with about 10 different styles present. Most of the songs are veined towards acoustic guitar with alot of light percussion stylings and 2 or 3 keyboards working together. It's a great concept, but unfortunately it doesn't make for the most exciting album. "Calico", "Ashes And Ashes" and "Paradox" are the most likely to be enjoyed by anybody, because they contain so many different genres all wrapped into a ball.

Definately not an essential piece, but it is a good addition to anybody's collection, as you probably have heard nothing like it before!

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