[CD REVIEW] BOYZ & GIRL – BOYZ & GIRL (2010)

[CD REVIEW] BOYZ & GIRL – BOYZ & GIRL (2010)

Blissful Noise

LABEL: 兵馬司 (Maybe Mars Records)
LANGUAGE: 英語 (English)
RELEASE DATE: 2010-05-19
RATING: 8.7

Blistering waves of feedback permeate the debut album from Taiwan noisemakers BOYZ & GIRL.  From the twisted guitar shriek of opening track “Ghost Parade” to the massive drone off “Everyone,” the band does not let up on their guitar pedals or effects one bit.  An exercise in indulgence and intensity, the songs here tread the fine line between melodious anthems and straight up noise jams.  The band which houses 斑斑 (Ben Ben) of Taiwan indie-pop band 雀斑 (Freckle’s) fame, sees the energetic and charismatic singer foregoing the innocence and cuteness of her former band, and instead gears towards a more serious sound.  What’s great is that Ben Ben’s eccentric charm is still present, and plays a big part in making her new project everything as interesting as her work with Freckles.

While Ben Ben’s main role in Freckles was managing the lead pipes, in BOYZ & GIRL her vocal duties are now split with second guitarist Jonathan.  The arrangement brings a dynamic to their sound that adds color and depth to their sound –– as Ben Ben’s voice is more high register and explosive, Jonathan’s low and calm voice becomes an interesting contrast that leads to pleasant results.  This contrast also extends to the blurring of the background from foreground.  While, Ben Ben’s distinct wails steal the show here, her melodies are placed amongst some of the most intense guitar backdrops.  This leads to a blending of sounds, and oftentimes it’s unclear whether it’s the vocal melodies or the expansive guitar noises that demand our attention the most.

While we are talking about guitar noise, there is no denying the band’s enthusiasm for feedback and the distorted.  Almost all tracks see use of guitar distortion in some way –– whether it be the psychedelic sounding bends of “Kiss me Blind” or the sublime minimalism of “The Cold, The War."  Every subtle change in mood or ambiance is established and guided by the guitar parts –– it wouldn’t be too far off to say that this album is a guitar effects lover’s paradise.  Not to say that the album can’t be appreciated on a more fundamental or raw level though.  For example, the haunting mood that is established on “Cannot Touch” can send shivers down the spine, while the slow and serene build up of “Everyone”, serves to be a reminder of the aging quality of time and inspires self-reflection.  This is also what may be the defining quality of the album; despite the noisy and furious shell lays a sense of calmness and transcendence.  Not unlike the eye of the storm –– during a tornado or hurricane, the eye is the center of the rotation, where the winds are unexpectedly calm.

Noise hasn’t sounded this good in a while. 


Recommended tracks: 05, 07, 11

Track Listing:
01. Ghost Parade
02. He Must Be
03. Cursed, and Cursed Again
04. Watchout! Akily is Dead
05. Cannot Touch
06. Passengers
07. Kiss Me Blind
08. Be My Friend
09. The Cold, The War
10. New
11. Everyone

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lojun

I like to spend my time on the internet searching for the meaning of life. When I am not doing this you can find me listening to music or playing the bass…or stuffing myself silly on Burritos.

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