Badboxes frontman Harrison Wargo has dubbed the sound of his Electronic trio “Northern Pop,” and that’s a fairly descriptive tag. The band’s debut EP JSMN (expanded to 14 tracks on a deluxe edition released early this year) and their recently released full length Violet (available as a free download through Bandcamp) exhibit a chilly Synth Pop air that could be perceived as reflective of their Pittsburgh environment, but both albums are equally defined by an organic sense of Pop song structure and subject matter. In the same vein as MGMT, Passion Pit, Owl City and Robert DeLong, Badboxes have found an intriguing and engaging nexus between the perceived sterility of Autotuned Electro Pop and the warmer, more passionate climes of Indie Pop.
Badboxes began about two years ago when keyboardist Wargo (formerly with The Morning Light) began the process of writing, performing and producing the songs that would ultimately comprise JSMN. In relatively short order, Wargo transformed his one-man project Badboxes — named for the literal and metaphorical place we stash our illicit possessions and worst fears — into a true three-piece band with the addition of bassist/multi-instrumentalist John O’Hallaron. Not content to let his project percolate for any length of time, Wargo secured an opening slot on a Robert DeLong show as Badboxes’ first gig.
The first iteration of JSMN was released shortly thereafter and was cited as one of the year’s best EPs by a broad spectrum of publications and websites. The trio also received a shout out from fellow Pittsburgher Wiz Khalifa for its compelling videos.
Just after the release of the newly lengthened JSMN this past January, Badboxes showcased at South by Southwest, which was followed by a string of high profile shows with HAERTS, Kopps, Spirit Animal and an appearance in Cincinnati in May opening for Why? Can big paydays and massive success be far behind?