In addition to the normal staple of The Jesus And Mary Chain-ish fuzz, Boys sees the odd flirtation with Latin beats and a dollop of salsa.
This time, the album was recorded in Mexico City under the stewardship of local resident and lead singer of Los Fancy-Free, Martin Thulin, who’s picked up the producer baton from The Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner who produced the band’s fourth effort Crimes Of Passion in 2013. But it doesn’t seem to matter who is twiddling the knobs – the tracks are generally collated rapidly once the duo have taken their individual ideas and merged them into complete songs, and this ability and solid vision within their songwriting ultimately results in the band creating their own destiny rather than have their ideas completely tweaked and revamped by an outsider, although the brush with salsa that gives a slight Santana flavour is possibly mostly Thulin’s influence. (...)
The Latin influenced efforts, though, are the most diverse tracks on the album. Kool TV conjures up images of prancing Spanish dancers before guitars head down Chaos Street once again. Album closer Don’t Look Up then features a skittering Latino beat and deft touches of guitar for more dreaminess before descending into a sound of confusion, like two different tracks being played simultaneously.
‘The Boy Is A Tramp’, with its Phil Spector beat, is immediately reminiscent of The Jesus & Mary Chain but as a slower, dreamier, more restrained number it does stand out as a refreshing tonic. The sudden appearance of a string section suggests the band is reaching for a luscious, slightly druggy, Lee Hazlewood-style pop hit but this ambition is sadly absent elsewhere. Still, following track ‘Hard’ shows that even the most humdrum of elements can turn into something wonderful if you have a real killer of a hook. A few more of those and Boys would have been something a bit more special.
At the other end of the psych scale, ‘Transylvania’ has an unexpected wig-out involving horns and unsettling electronic noise that elevates another perfectly decent but unspectacular fuzzy garage number into something slightly avant-garde and weird. ‘Don’t Look Up’ pulls a similar trick by suddenly transforming from a dreamy ballad into a full-on bad trip, all slowed-down and nightmarishly echoey. It’s genuinely a bit scary and, again, had the band explored this facet of their songwriting they might have produced something more noteworthy. As it is, these occasional experiments just serve to remind that it’s nice (and unexpected) to actually be surprised by this album. (...)
It’s not enough to make an album that blends inoffensively into the background. Psychedelia is supposed to be mind-bending, not just some minor flavouring to add to your very average indie-pop songs.