Sonic Tool Box - A Space in Time

Sonic Tool Box A Space in Time cover
Sonic Tool Box
A Space in Time
Gateway Music
Sonic Tool Box is primarily the effort of a duo of Danish musicians, who go back some way. You see, Lars Boutrup and Michael Miller first played in the Danish rock band Simcess (84-92) that came to some prominence locally. After the band spilt up, Boutrup continued in other bands like Sing Sing, Supernova and Jeep, while Michael started working as a sound engineer in the Sweet Silence Studios as well as in Trackhouse. A mini reunion of Simcess alumni happened in 1998 when Miller and Boutrup formed a new band called Big Bang together with Morten Løkken and Spike Nior, but that project was also short lived. Sonic Tool Box has been going on for a few years now and “A Space in Time” is their sophomore effort.
The sound is very 80s poppy, techy (lots of electronic drums etc.) but Boutrup’s deep vocals that are somewhat reminiscent of the Eldritch school of singing give the whole project a very “goth” sort of air. In my mind it felt like a cross between Hogarth era Marillion and Talk Talk maybe even The Sound and The The with The Sisters and The Mission more or less.
Basically it’s not a bad album and maybe back in the day it could have had some impact, but these days it sounds just too retro in too many ways. Despite pleasant melodies, the whole project lacks in dynamics, with even the songs that could have turned into mini-epics (ie – “Your New World Order”) just quietly fizzling away… getting the atmosphere “well”, but really wasting an opportunity to make a mark… the poppier “I Can Do It” is similarly plagued, by a way too “cool” delivery that sounds quite catatonic, rather than uplifting, which it should and things are either similar or get ropier in other songs on the album.
While the overall premise of the album and even some of the songs, allude to pop goth cool and grandeur, the result feels marinated in mediocrity and doesn’t quite seem able to fulfill it’s potential at least in this format. A better sense of dynamics would help this chaps take their retro sound, several notches forward, methinks.