"Am I living in a box? Am I living in a cardboard box?"
"Living in a Box" were one of those bands during the late eighties that for a short period made everybody excited about a new sound before collapsing and vanishing back into obscurity. In "Living in a Box"'s case it took just 2 years and two albums to disappear, leaving the world with nothing but a couple of memorable songs and one of the more memorable band names of pop history.
The band consisted of Richard Darbyshire, an Oxford graduate with a degree in English literature, Marcus Vere and Anthony Critchlow. They signed to Chrysalis in 1985 and released their first song in 1987. That first single, aptly titled "Living in a box" (from the album of the same name, haha...) started with a bloodcurdling yell from Darbyshire over an percussion intro, before switching into an electrofunk orgy. That song, together with a clever video, gave them a number one in the UK and numerous european countries and, together with rather good looks, turned them into a household name over night. The other singles (Scales of justice and So the story goes) sold ok, but didn't reach the same iconic status of "Living in a box".
The second album Gatecrashing, released in 1989 and produced with Disco God Dan Hartman was far superior: songwriting, production values and arrangements were excellent, but unfortunately the public started to lose interest: "Gatecrashing", "Blow the house down", "Room in your heart" and the beautiful "Different Air" all lingered around in the top twenty, but failed to make a deep enough impact.
Chrysalis, now struggling as an independent label and threatening to be taken over by EMI, started to loose patience. Darbyshire, upset by the pressure from his label, left to pursue his own, short lived solo career.
Quintessence? It's not enough to have a good album. You also have to have a label that will support you.
Source: Numerous issues of Smash Hits and http://www.geocities.com:80/SunsetStrip/Gala/1075/voxliving.html