Boy Hits Car

Stealing Fire

Written by: PP on 22/02/2011 06:24:07

Hands up how many of you are familiar with Boy Hits Car? The little known 'love-core' band from the City of Angels who formed in 1993 and have since lived through the life and death of at least two very relevant trends for their style of music? Some of you might remember them from their vocalist's insane 68 foot stage dive, but the fewest will associate the band with the cult status its small but loyal following have attributed to the name. Their self-titled sophomore album from 2001 is widely regarded as a seminal piece in the development of what is today known as emotionally charged post-hardcore, simply because it took the then prevailing trend of nu-metal and twisted it with a dose of alternative rock and some of the most explosive quiet/loud dynamics to demonstrate just what can be done with a sound that's simultaneously heavy and light, containing harsh and unpredictable screaming just as much as soft, emotional clean croons directly contrasting one another. Listening to the record today, it's not difficult to hear the wealth of bands who drew influence from it.

In 2005 the band released the somewhat mediocre "The Passage", a record that failed to live up to the massive expectations of its predecessor, and consequently the band slowly drifted into obscurity. "Stealing Fire", their fourth studio album, is in fact the first sign of life to the band we've heard since then at least on an international scale, and it sounds like the band has spent six years extremely well, mostly re-interpreting what made the band so brilliant back in the day. Without exaggeration, "Stealing Fire" is every bit as unique and great as the band's classic from ten years ago - without necessarily being a repeat album. Allow me to explain why.

Not only does the band own the strongest and most powerful transitions between quiet and loud passages designed for maximum explosive power in a live environment, but their core sound, the one they call 'lovecore', is completely different from anything else you'll have heard since the seminal Incubus album "S.C.I.E.N.C.E". It's a record that draws from alternative rock just as much as it does from nu-metal, but here's the catch: instead of possessing pseudo-heavy instrumentation or crushing walls of guitar, the sound is invariably led by a contrast between an ethnic sounding acoustic guitar and an electric guitar, the former giving the band a mellow Eastern vibe while the latter provides power and heaviness to the sound. On top of this their vocalist is a master of using different volumes and styles of singing. At times, he'll be whispering or softly singing, elsewhere he'll lead the band with a barrage of aggressive screaming, only to quickly transition into a lull, a calm state in direct contrast with the unrestrained passage just before. He packs so much emotion into his delivery that, to use a cliché expression, it is almost cuttable with a knife, for so much of unadulterated passion is in air during the songs.

So why is it any better than "The Passage", which relied on mostly the same elements but failed to produce anything noteworthy? Good question, which has a simple answer: improved songwriting by leaps and bounds. Songs like "Stealing Fire From The Sun" collapse and climax just at the right moments, reaching into harsh screaming just when necessary to create special atmospheres that feel and sound unique to the listener. "Dreams (Of Foreign Metabolic Circumstance)" has an extremely catchy, dream-like chorus that floats above the soundscape, before it comes soaring down to superb contrast of soft acoustic instrumentation and distorted electric guitars. Think Finger Eleven's masterpiece "The Greyest Of Blue Skies" and you have an idea of just what's going on. Essentially, what you're witnessing is an unexpected middle form between emo and nu-metal, a beast that shouldn't possibly exist according to the rules and laws of music, but one that sounds so natural and obvious when you actually hear it. In other words, a unique piece of musical oddity, that sounds really good even when it shouldn't.


Download: Stealing Fire From The Sun, Embrace (For It's Myself) I Need Strength Against, Dreams (Of Foreign Metabolic Circumstance)
For the fans of: "S.C.I.E.N.C.E" by Incubus, Finger Eleven, Finch
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.03.2011

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