Big Box Of Chocolates

'Big Box Of Chocolates' by Hooton Tennis Club, album review by Jake Fox

Our Rating

3.8

“Am I wasting my time? / Sitting ‘round being sensible / Am I losing my mind? / Why am I even
here at all?” the opening lines from “Growing Concerns” the first track on Hooton Tennis Club’s
sophomore record delineates the rest of Big Box of Chocolates’ laments. Musically and lyrically
Hooton Tennis Club never find a convincing enough reason to tell their stories. And one starts to
wonder: why bother? The lyrics, though sincere and honest, lack any sort of passion, urgency or
real threat to the narrator, and the listener cares even less than Hooton Tennis Club seem to.

The first single from Big Box of Chocolates, “Katy-Anne Bellis” describes the tragedy of a friend
moving to a different part of the city. “A year and 3 months in a house with all your friends / we’re
only down the road if you need us / oh won’t you come and see us / This house is like a long
film / And we just watched the last scene right now ”. The lyrics tend to contradict themselves
and the feeling is unimpassioned. It’s hard to imagine who else, besides their friend, Hooton
Tennis Club are writing this song for. The track plays like an inside joke that has little humour or
invitation for those that don’t know the band personally. Taking the old adage “Write what you
know” too literally in this case.

These kind of detached and ironic sentiments have the ability to soar when the tale is interesting
enough, and the band delivers a unique, driving and original soundscape to support these tales
of ennui. But, unfortunately, Hooton Tennis Club never strays from the tight confines of their
pop-psych sub-genre. Influences of Elvis Costello can be heard throughout the track “O Man,
Won’t You Melt Me?” suggesting a glimpse of something more varied. However, Big Box of
Chocolates toils in sameness providing us with a vague reminder of early Blur at their most
forgettable and Brian Jonestown Massacre at their least inventive. Chugging along apathetically
for cut-time choruses and telegraphed bass lines, climaxing with atonal solos, or at one point,
barking dogs.

review by Jake Fox