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Boy Kill Boy - Stars And The Sea

Boy Kill Boy, Stars And The Sea

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

STARS & The Sea is Boy Kill Boy’s follow-up to 2006’s Gold-selling debut Civilian and it would appear there’s a lot riding on it.

The Essex band struggled to gain a proper foothold amid the tidal wave of guitar based bands in 2006 (that still shows no sign of abating), so they enlisted the help of super-producer Dave Sardy (Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers) to give the LP a boost.

And certainly on the evidence of lead singles Promises and No Conversation there’s evidence that the trip to LA has paid off. The former emerges as a genuinely radio-friendly crowdpleaser thanks to Chris Peck’s assured vocals and the vibrant guitars, which flirt with both punk and more straight forward indie-rock. The chorus, in particular, bears favourable comparison with Idlewild in the way that it packs an immediate punch and still manages some intricate layering.

No Conversation, meanwhile, drops a livewire opening guitar salvo and proceeds to deliver a punchy rock anthem that contains a nice electronic loop (vaguely reminiscent of some Strokes material).

But while there’s no denying the full throttle nature of the remainder of the LP, it quickly runs out of trickery. Be Somebody, for instance, embodies yet another electronic loop and more crunching guitar riffs, only mixed a little differently from No Conversation. When Peck belts out “I could be somebody else”, you begin to ponder whether he might be preparing the band’s own musical epitaph.

Loud And Clear is a pretty decent effort that benefits from a slower, more pronounced tempo, while Paris wraps another flirty, breezy electronic loop around some melodic guitars and powerhouse vocals.

A OK, meanwhile, is an easygoing, catchy indie-pop blast of energy that, once again, draws favourable comparisons with The Strokes – its electronic work again providing some thrilling interludes.

But then the LP hits some more straightforward rockers, with Ready To Go, Rosie’s On Fire and Pen & Ink thrashing about without too much consequence. You can either take them or leave them, but the album wouldn’t miss them.

That said, Kidda Kidda – in between them – is a lovely offering, built around some genuinely warm melodies and a punchy chorus, while final track Two Souls is a lovelorn slow-builder that ends things on a surprisingly endearing high.

So, while Stars And The Sea struggles to convince as a whole, there are some very strong moments that ensure that it’s an above average listen. And let’s hope the record companies afford them a shot at a third album, as you can sense there’s plenty more to come from them.

Download picks: Promises, No Conversation, Paris, A OK, Kidda Kidda, Two Souls

Track listing:

  1. Promises
  2. No Conversation
  3. Be Somebody
  4. Loud And Clear
  5. Paris
  6. A OK
  7. Ready To Go
  8. Rosie’s On Fire
  9. Kidda Kidda
  10. Pen & Ink
  11. Two Souls