Dave Bjorkback plays varied roles in rock music circles here in the Triangle: as drummer for Razzle, play-acting as Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson when the time calls, and doing his own thing as the hooded, blue-tinted superhero The Torch Marauder. This alter ego is a nonsensical reprieve from musical cliques or alliances, and Bjorkback has a very good time doing it. At a gig, you might find unannounced villains starting a dramatic argument or, as was the case at the CD release party for this record, a slew of local musicians playing alongside Bjorkback. On Boxers, Painters and Snappers, he assembles folks to illuminate these songs, ranging from banging hard rock numbers to introspective pop to novelty knock-offs.
"Where No One Is" starts things with verse-chorus rock, scratchy guitar and all, then breaks down into an Anne Gomez (Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan) sax workout before picking back up with some "Whoo!" yelping, and ends with Bjorkback's scream, as hair-raising as that of any mid-'80s studded-wristband-wearing metaloid. "Within Earshot" is a great rocker anthem that also works in more of that sax. When the Torch contemplates love and happiness, the lyrics approach treacle, like on the love song "The Brightest Star." But that's not the mission of the Torch. So look to guitar-heavy "Sympathy for the Television" to strengthen your resolve when faced with "Kill Your TV" types, as The Blue One sings the praises of his favorite shows like Welcome Back, Kotter or Three's Company with enthusiastic rhymes like "Right now there's something good on the WB!"
"The Aging Wrestler" is a favorite here, as it turns the foibles of a spandex-clad wrestler into a whispered ballad, replete with delicate strings being plucked and a somber tone throughout. The fantastic shifting modern jazz-flavored piece "Greasing the Judge's Palm" also stands out with cello, violin, French horn, trumpet, sax and clarinet by familiar locals like Chris Eubank (Spatula, Shark Quest), Margaret White (North Elementary, Regina Hexaphone) and David Jordan (C,G and Jordan) among many others on the record.