CD, Section 44, 2007
Storybox (a.k.a. Dave Montana or his band moniker, Agent D) is the latest signing to the ever-growing Section 44 label. With a musical background stemming from when he was a child and most of his teens spent working with various styles of music, he has since returned to what he holds dear and continued his work in the field of synthpop.
The journey of “No Dancing Allowed” starts with an interesting sample that later reveals a lot of the intentions of the album. Through a large number of the tracks, Storybox often picks up on society’s thoughts and actions toward the world’s gay population in a way that actually makes you stop and listen. This is certainly one of the album’s strongest attributes, and I found he explores this area with clearly a lot of thought involved. Unfortunately, this is where my interest stopped. Musically I found the album to be slightly directionless, and it has a nasty habit of fading into background music in between tracks. Another problem I found whilst listening to it was that a lot of the album’s tracks don’t sound like they’ve been mastered very well at all. With vocals often sounding under-produced and grainy on some tracks and on others sounding fresh and well performed, I had the constant impression that the album was somewhat unfinished.
On the upside, the album has a certain flair and at certain times it felt like I was listening to the early works of Erasure or Depeche Mode. The only problem I can see with that is that this isn’t the early ’80s anymore and sounds and production have improved with time. Maybe this is the approach that Storybox intended, but for me it just didn’t work. I’ve heard and bought many albums by many acts that give a sense of rejuvenation in this particular genre, and maybe what this album is missing more than anything is a modern twist.
If you are a fan of the music from the early era of electronic pop music (circa 1980-83) then perhaps “No Dancing Allowed” might be worth looking into. Speaking as a fan of that era as well, though, I can’t help but think that if you are not going to give the sound a slight update, then maybe some things should be left as they were.
— Paul Marcham