Reviews - Week 59

The Boyfriends

Demo Recordings & 'No Tomorrow / I Love You' Split Ep

Unsighned / Filthy Little Angels Singles Club

This is the third time that I have sat down and tried to pen a piece about The Boyfriends. About the most exciting prospect in popular music that I have ever experienced first hand. It’s the third time because the previous two attempts just didn’t do this music justice, and to be honest I’m struggling to find appropriate words even now. There are only so many superlatives available to the writer, and most of them simply don’t elevate the reader to the same level as the music does.

Now I know how Paul Morley felt twenty-odd years ago when a demo tape from a certain Manchester band landed on his desk. I know how he reacted when he slipped the tape into the player and was instantly metaphorically blown away by what it contained. I know how he suddenly felt that he was witnessing a signal post in popular music. I now know how he realised things could never be the same again. He was right then, and I think I’m right now.

So where do I start? How do I convince you that the bunch of demo recordings that landed on my doormat the other week are the most refreshing, vital, invigorating recordings that I have heard in many a year? What can I say to make you believe me, so that you too will get just as excited as I am about The Boyfriends?

I cannot argue that what they are doing is wholly unique, that it has never been done before. But I will say quite matter-of-factly that what they are doing is far better than that which any of their contemporaries are offering. If you are a lover of finely crafted, sophisticated, intelligent guitar based music, then The Boyfriends are for you. I personally guarantee it. If you see the talent in The Smiths, if you recognise the urgency in Joy Division, if you understand that popular music can be more than looping drum rhythms, strictly choreographed dance routines and ‘ooh baby, baby’ lyrics then you should sit up and start to take notice now.

The early days of the band were in London around five years ago, when Martin Wallace and Richard Adderley wrote their first songs together. They had been offered a one off single deal by a small independent label, but owing to their laziness and perfectionism the label had folded before they even submitted their recording. Time went on, and they recruited rhythm section David Barnett and Paddy Pulzer. They started gigging regularly over the summer of 2003, mainly in London, and it wasn’t long before people began to take notice. And now with interest gathering again from record labels The Boyfriends are set to unleash themselves on an unsuspecting public.

The recordings that I have are typically edgy, yet melodic. Intelligently crafted and passionately presented musically, whilst erudite, sophisticated and optimistically euphoric lyrically.

“Life is a disease, and we grow stronger everyday.”

They do little more than what is required; the songs are not over laden with unnecessary flamboyancy. Choruses often little more than a single line, guitar breaks beautifully understated. The whole presentation is effortlessly, yet enthusiastically delivered. The Boyfriends say it like they see it, they rail against injustice, they promote self belief and they make damn good rock‘n’roll tunes.

Before the tidal wave hits and they become the darlings of the music press, MTV favourites, and festive fifty champions small independent label Filthy Little Angels have pulled off a dramatic coup with the forthcoming release of a bona fide Boyfriends release. As the fourth part of their ‘Singles Club’ series we are offered a limited edition shared EP with the Long Blondes. The Boyfriends give us tracks ‘No Tomorrow’ and ‘I Love You’. The former is a thrilling salvo of guitar pop, reminiscent of the aforementioned Joy Division, early Cure, and the ubiquitous Smiths.

“Live like there is no tomorrow, this very day could be your last”

Regardless of the proposed impending doom the track is utterly euphoric, and without doubt warms the heart. Well, if it is all going to end tomorrow, at least it has a brilliant soundtrack.

‘I Love You’ opens with perhaps their most instantly recognisable guitar intro. It is quite simply stunning. I don’t feel that anything I can say will make you realise just how good they are. All I can suggest is that you chase up the Filthy Little Angels Singles Club release (sure to become a collectors item), and check out the tracks on their website. After that I won’t need to say anymore, you’ll just be left anxious for more from The Boyfriends, possibly the most important band in popular music today.

“Be honest, be gallant, be brave...”

A few weeks ago, at the Morrissey gig at Manchester’s Move Festival I stumbled across Peter Hook of New Order. I told him there and then that The Boyfriends were the future of popular music.

He said ‘oh, right’, then walked away.

What greater recommendation do you need?

Johnny Mac





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