This Many Boyfriends Reviewed: Indie Heart In The Age Of Autotune

The Leeds boys' debut was produced by Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, and in the time-honoured style of the lo-fi legends they've come out with a collection of raucous punk tunes...
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The Leeds boys' debut was produced by Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, and in the time-honoured style of the lo-fi legends they've come out with a collection of raucous punk tunes...


Released 08/10/2012, through Angular Recording Co

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A friend and I recently had a chat about the real purpose  of a good music review. Should I try and reflect the similarities between one band or another in a string of banal adjectives; or simply tell you whether to buy a record or not?

Rest assured, I intend to achieve both feats within this modest deposition. From the off, TMB’s influences are clear, with a witty lyrical sheen that harks back to the best of the Scottish indie-pop bands, despite their hailing from Leeds. The guitars flip from early-punk thrash to glittering arpeggios and equally the backing vocals swoop from crooning melodies to raucous echoes of the key lines. This purity of method makes for better songs with raucous sing-along choruses that cast rough-edged sunshine over the whole record.

Similar to the early-Cribs, many of the songs have needling guitar riffs that could be as easily whistled by a passing builder as they could fill a room in your local cider and black, sticky floor situation. The lyrics evoke times both more simple and more complicated; when small-town kicks are it, where a mixture of classic records and the obscure latest thing can soundtrack whole summers, when differences in musical taste can either make or break a relationship, a tale unfolded in ‘I Don’t Like You (‘Cus You Don’t Like The Pastels)’. If this sounds somewhat nostalgic, it’s because it is, but more importantly, TMB’s music is great fun.

Similar to the early-Cribs, many of the songs have needling guitar riffs that could be as easily whistled by a passing builder as they could fill a room in your local cider and black, sticky floor situation

At no risk of musical PDA, TMB have needling guitars aligned with melodic sense not heard since early punk bands like The Buzzcocks. But they are also their own band, possessing a greater musical range than the other indie boys next-door (see: Two-door Cinema Club and The View). ‘Number 1’ is my favourite as a single, a simple hymn to raising an object of desire to a pedestal so high, that they can no longer be reached – or at least that was my take on it.

The back to basics production from Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, sound from a real band, that is to say genuine in the original indie sense, sounds intensely novel in age of over-produced, prosthetic bands who spend more time perfecting their vocals with autotune or tweaking drum sounds with Pro-Tools than picking up their instruments. The songs are neat, brisk and lean, avoiding any of the hang-ups of over-production. The band are effectively playing live for you in your living room or on your car stereo, so you know that if you go to see them at a gig, you’ll be getting a true reflection of their album, not a re-run of pre-recorded vocals, impossible to replicate live.

The vicious screech at the start of ‘Everything’ takes the album out on a high, the laconic male/female vocals contrast with spiky arrogance of the verse, like the abrasive first record of Echo And The Bunnymen. So stand up for the little giants – buy This Many Boyfriends' debut and remind yourself what great pop music is all about!


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