Who the hell are Athlete? Well, they were nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2003 for their excellent debut Vehicles And Animals. They’ve had middling success since then, but landed some of their sappier tunes on chick shows like Grey’s Anatomy.
Anyway, I happen to like their “Casio pop” and I’m pretty intrigued by Boxes. Willetts can craft a big pop hook like Athlete, but his production skills and electronic experimentation set his side project apart. The lead track on the Boxes EP is “Silent Alarm,” which has a massive chorus and a saucy (nsfw) video:
“Dominoes” is even more unabashedly pop with a little R&B flavor:
The last preview track from the 4-song EP is “Throw Your Stones,” which has a slow build and sounds a bit like The Postal Service:
With Athlete in a holding pattern, more side projects are likely on the way. Boxes is a good start.