How Can You Be So Haunted?
Haunted by Colors is the debut EP from ShadowBox, the nom de plume of Brooklyn’s own Bonnie Baxter. Baxter is the writer, producer, and performer behind ShadowBox and the project is 100% her vision — spacey electronica, lazily pulsed, with occasional vocals drifting in and out of range. She rejects song structure, choosing to populate her songs with sparse verses, often consisting of a few lines repeated sometimes indecipherably. In the case of “CO”–song titles can elude sense–Baxter adopts a soft coo almost reminiscent of Donna Summer wordlessly riffing over a disco beat. In this case, however, Baxter’s vocalizations are lost in the equally laid-back music. Her voice is delicate, occasionally flat, and benefits greatly from high harmonies and layered effects to give it depth, if not feeling.
Although the first two-thirds of the six-song EP are forgettable, Baxter shows some signs of life on the last two tracks, “Loveless Child” and “Running Like a Ghost.” On “Loveless Child,” a more persistent and hypnotic beat provides a 20-second intro before Baxter’s layered voice comes through high and sweet, set in front of and above the music. Baxter chants, “I’ll make a great loveless child too-ooo-ooo,” with both her voice and music striving to make an impression on the listener. “Running Like a Ghost” takes an unexpected left turn: Baxter sings low in your ear accompanied by an acoustic guitar, leaving the synths and blips as peripheral decoration. This shortest song is also the most intimate as Baxter’s voice is finally comes through with clarity. With any luck, her future endeavors won’t bury the leads.