The Box Tiger

Breakout Toronto Bands: The Box Tiger

Breakout Toronto Bands features local artists that we think you should give a listen to.

Who are they?

Founded in 2009, The Box Tiger was brought together by singer/songwriter Sonia Sturino. She's joined by Jordan Stowell (guitar), Marcus Cipparrone (drums), and Benjamin Tran (bass).

They've only been around for four years, but it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that the band has experienced a bit of a rocky road leading up to the release of their debut album, Set Fire. The current lineup is radically different from the personnel that made up the quartet in their early years, with bassist Tran being the newest addition (he came aboard in late spring of 2012). Nonetheless, this is a band that obviously feels comfortable playing together—their music has a maturity and tightness that is almost immediately evident.

They sound like....

I only became familiar with The Box Tiger over the last few months, and my introduction to their music was Set Fire's second single, "Knives." It's not hard to see why the track was chosen as a single: one of the highlights of the album, it's a quick-and-dirty little number that serves as the perfect showcase of Sturino's vocal talents.

And yes, while The Box Tiger is, collectively, a very talented group of musicians, it's Sturino that is the true standout. As a singer, she's been positively compared to Florence Welch, and while I won't fully agree or disagree, she possesses a vocal range that you don't often hear. On the ballad "Hospital Choir," you can hear the emotion dripping as she sings "Rise again / my love, my friend," and "I'm so sorry that I / I can't be better at all and / I'm not better at all for you." It is, in fact, my favourite track on the album, haunting and beautiful in its simplicity.

The band isn't out to reinvent the wheel, but they don't have to—what their sound lacks in straight-up uniqueness is overwhelmed by the technical tightness of their music and the fact that they're clearly having the time of their lives. This is most evident in kickoff track "Bleeding Hart," a total banger that starts the album on a high note that it never really loses. Sure, there's a misstep or two—namely "Julian," a slow and stumbling track which really didn't catch my attention no matter how many times I listened to it. But the band can be forgiven for this, as the rest of the album cruises along at a great pace.

Hear them / see them

Unfortunately, the band has no shows scheduled in the near future. They've been touring around for the last few months in support of the album, and I'd imagine that more dates will be announced sooner rather than later. Fact is, this is a band that you're going to hear a lot from over the next little while.

Set Fire is available in digital and CD format, with a limited edition version containing an extra track for a few dollars more. Head on over to the band's official site for pricing info and a full track list. Let's hope for some tour dates.

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