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Album Review

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.

Whether Hope 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.

Biography

Formed: 1986 in New Jersey

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Formed in 1986 by Claude S. with two friends, Dania Morales and Paul Rijnders, the New Jersey trio Anything Box took their name from the title of a book of short stories. The act signed with Epic and released their debut album, Peace, in 1990, notching a hit with the upbeat "Living in Oblivion." The song crossed over from clubs and managed to climb onto the pop charts (reaching a less-than-dizzying number 65). They returned a year later with the Gareth Jones-produced Worth. Although it failed to...
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Hope, Anything Box
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