Posted September 5, 2006 by Mike Mineo in Features

The Tender Box


According to Ric Moon, guitarist of The Tender Box, most people take one look at his band from East LA and jump to the conclusion that the four are just a group of taco vendors. I guess that would be the ignorant point of view, and as Moon states, “we’ve never sold tacos”. No, they aren’t taco venders, but one of the catchiest bands to emerge from the California scene of Morrissey and Depeche Mode fandom. The four friends grew up idolizing 80s synth-pop and post-punk in the mold of Depeche Mode and The Cure, as all four claim that was the primary music being played in all of their house during childhood in the ethnically charged neighborhood of South Gate. As their influences show, their sound is nothing that hasn’t been heard before, mixing synths with bursts of guitars. Despite the widening genre that The Killers have unrightfully claimed, The Tender Box has some of the catchiest songs out of the genre that you are going to find. Their debut album, The Score, was produced by Warren Huart, who also worked with the similarily minded Hot Hot Heat and The Thrills. The band is currently touring in the UK.

‘Mister Sister’ is their apparent breakthrough single with it’s non-stop fun and dance affinity, as singer Joey Medina takes the chorus all the way with his simple but excitiable “Wooh-ooh”s. ‘Let Go’ is of the same mold, with a deceiving verse echoing some type of softly spoken love ballad, until a loudening chorus of fantastic proportions immeditately jumps into play, only led by a slight distorted guitar solo in the bridge. ‘Commuter’ most heavily uses the synths that the band were so influenced by. The song is as excitable as the rest, though the “Woah-oh” idea in the chorus sound too similar to ‘Mister Sister’, which makes me hope that they choose to create choruses more diverse in their coming songs. Regardless, The Tender Box have all the right stuff to join the ranks of the successful modern synth-rock craze.


The Tender Box – Mister Sister



The Tender Box – Let Go



The Tender Box – Commuter



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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].