Boys Of Terror

What Everybody Feels

Written by: TL on 25/06/2015 16:10:09

Boys Of Terror are a trio from the Swedish city of Gothenburg who will guest Copenhagen as part of their summer tour of Europe, with a show planned at UnderWerket on July 7th. The music they will play there figures to come mainly from their recently released debut album "What Everybody Feels", which was put at "name your price" via Bandcamp in April. On it the band offers a home-grown, grassroots level attempt at what it would sound like if the almost hysterically sentimental Britpop of Suede or early The Killers collided with the jangly trashcan garage-pop of one of the first Raveonettes records.

The bass and drums keep casually to the back of the soundscape, seeming content with providing fairly relaxed grooves, giving the sound the distinctly "indie" feel, where you always know that no matter how desperately heartbroken things seem, it is after all only "what everybody feels". Things do seem quite heartbroken though, when listening to the vocals, which are the main reason for bringing up Suede and Brett Anderson for comparison, albeit Boys Of Terror - being a band with ties to the punk rock community - have no problems letting the singing sound even more broken here and there (think whinier Conor Oberst moments maybe). Meanwhile the guitar sound is a twangy melodiousness typical for the genre, likely inspired by everyone from The Smiths to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and particularly at the start of the record, this works fine in conjunction with the other elements. Opener "All Of The Time" at least feels like the strongest song of the record, setting up an immediately immersive narrative, putting the listener on in a nightclub bathroom and then on a train to Stockholm with a love interest. "Picture" has another Suede-like trait in the distant "Uuuuuhs" that support the pre-chorus, while the actual chorus "Come back to me and destroy everything" is also quite catchy, even if the verse lines verge dangerously over the edge of excessive self-pity. "Any Time To Think" also deserves mention for throwing a surprise in the mix with an unexpectedly lively guitar solo.

For its good qualities though, "What Everybody Feels" will never escape the clear signs that it is a budget recording from a young band. The singing is characteristic but shaky in a way that some will find charming while others just find it bad - proverbial comparisons to a cat wailing from having its tail yanked being near at hand (though this is arguably also the case with Suede). Similarly, the instrumental mix sounds like someone got it "good enough", yet didn't have the resources to make it sound as unrealistically delicious as we have come to expect from records in 2015. And while some can argue about authenticity and organicness of sound and so on, the main issue is that the same impression carries over into both the songwriting and the soundscaping of the album. You feel that the band has aimed for a record that was good enough to make them feel like solid recording artists, yet have been a bit too modest to aim to make a proper splash.

The result is a record that is functional, at times even catchy if you accept the premises of the genre and the underground level of its origin. The music does get samey over the course of the record though, as you sense the songs having been grown on similar structures, motifs, and tempos, and you miss some stronger individual ideas to separate the tracks. Things being as they are, "What Everybody Feels" grows stale past the midpoint, and the vocals in particular start to grate on the ear. And then there's the impression that, when measured against the common quality for noteworthy bands in the recording industry today (even the debuting ones), Boys Of Terror sound every bit the underdogs that they are, which makes "What Everybody Feels" primarily a niché record bound for local fame. So unless the guys are happy to just stay a "small band", we recommend saving up some more for the next recording, and getting a bit more ambitious and creative both with that and with the separate song crafting.


Download: All Of The Time, Picture, Any Time To Think
For The Fans Of: Suede, The Killers, The Raveonettes, The Vaccines

Release date 02.04.2015

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