Music and quality live entertainment are two features that have become synonymous with West Chester over the years. New bands are formed in the area all the time, and there’s one that everyone should be keeping an eye out for; West Chester-based folk band Box of Books just released their first single titled “Heartless,” and anyone who enjoys alt-folk or acoustic music should give it a listen.
Inspired by bands such as The Punch Brothers, The Decemberists, Nickel Creek and Fleet Foxes, Box of Books consider themselves alternative-folk, taking contemporary music elements and using a traditional folk instrumentation. Box of Books features West Chester alum Thomas Lombard on bass and vocals and current West Chester students Michael Trycieckyj on guitar and vocals, Caroline Garlick on violin and vocals and James Devor on mandolin. Each member has been a part of our very own School of Music as music majors, and now they’re combining their refined talents to create some quality music together.
“Heartless,” which was released in early April, gives a great preview of what this group is capable of. Opening with a beautiful, melodic violin part backed by the sweet, acoustic sound of the mandolin, this song wastes no time in creating a unique sound that draws its listeners in from the beginning.
Punctuated by the resonant, soothing voice of lead vocalist Michael Trycieckyj and accented by guitar, bass and backup vocals, “Heartless” brings a new, unique sound to the alternative-folk scene that will get the group noticed.
“Heartless” highlights the fact that our lives may never really turn out the way we see scripted lives play out on TV. The character in this song is relatable to most of us, as so many of us deal with hardships and struggles throughout our lives that may convince us to simply stop caring. However, I believe the important message this song is trying to instill in everyone is that our own perceptions of the world are what we create, and it’s us who reinforce those thoughts. The character in this story is even aware of this, saying “that’s why here only I can let myself down.”
When the vocals aren’t making you contemplate life, the instrumental breaks add much-needed time for reflection, as the acoustic instruments turn the character’s thoughts into engaging melodies with skillful fills, added in by the violin and mandolin.
Professionally tracked and recorded, “Heartless” displays the band’s knowledge of creating quality music the right way. There was obviously a lot of work put into it, and it shows in the final recording. Each instrumental track is mixed and fine-tuned flawlessly, which sheds a light on the great musicianship and talent that each member brings to the band.
A music video for “Heartless” is in the works, with a planned release happening sometime in the next few weeks. Currently, Box of Books is working on a full-length album of all original songs, expected to be released over the summer.
The band has also been playing “folked-up” cover sets locally, in and around West Chester. Their next cover show will feature Thomas Lombard and Michael Trycieckyj at Chadds Ford Tavern on April 24. Their next scheduled original show will be at the Grape Room, located in Manayunk in Philadelphia, on May 26.
You can follow the band to keep up with their latest shows and newest releases on Facebook as Box of Books or on Instagram @boxofbooks_music.
“Heartless” is available to stream and download on boxofbooks.bandcamp.com.
Ryan Kutzler is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in music and journalism. ✉ RK821378@wcupa.edu.