Boyskout | Another Life (Three Ring)

cd_boyskout_smAfter the amazing "When You're Not Around," Boyskout tackles "The Model" from Kraftwerk's album The Man-Machine, to good result. Boyskout manages to stay true to the song's original instrumentation, while at the same time bringing it up to date by decreasing the role of Kraftwerk's synthesizer.

 

cd_boyskoutIn 2001, the four girls that make up Boyskout formed out of nothing to open for the Need. By 2003, Boyskout's audience reached beyond the bay area by contributing two exclusive tracks on Alive Records' critically acclaimed compilation Sound of San Francisco. The first song was "School of Etiquette," which later became the title of their solid 2004 debut, and the second, "Secrets," which was the mix highlight, the centerpiece to their album, and one of the essential tracks of 2004.

School of Etiquette hit stores in January '04, displaying a dozen surf-rock songs covering a variety of tones and branded by the restrained, steady vocals of Leslie Satterfield.

The band spent much of 2005 touring extensively, performing alongside big name acts including Metric, Tegan & Sara, the Gossip, the Rogers Sisters, and label mates the Coachwhips and Two Gallants.

This March, Boyskout played Austin's South by Southwest festival in preparation for their October '06 release, Another Life. Now the band heads back on the road with new material for a tour beginning November 20 in Maryland.

Another Life is a more focused release. Their last album could be split into two parts, "the good" and the "not as good." The successful songs, with the exception of "Ecstasy," were the straightforward ones, like "New Black" and "Jesse James." Their experimentation on Another Life was subtle, but the result was a more powerful album.

"Spotlight" races right out of the gate with cool guitar stutters in the forefront, a persistent drumbeat pacing the music to vocal shifts, and the narrator closing the gaps.

"Everybody Knew" is a great thing to hear. This upbeat song is perfectly placed, batting cleanup at track four. The danceable '50s beat matches the sugary high school lyrics, "Everybody knew that you were captured by my charm/ and everybody knew that you were the prettiest boy." It's not quite the perfect world pop song that Buddy Holly would deliver, although she knows that she "should be so lucky," if the relationship puts "the chain around [her] neck." The song gets even better with the chorus, now in the present, "But I know a girl that kind of treated me like you used to/ yes, I know a girl that makes love sweet love, like you used to." The song has such great intricacy, the bridge features brilliant drumming, the verses are perfected with backup vocals, and the handclaps during the chorus put the song over the top. You can't play this one enough.

The follow-up song "Better Yet?" is a highlight as well, featuring told-you-so lyrics from Satterfield, playing big sister to a young lover.

After the amazing "When You're Not Around," Boyskout tackles "The Model" from Kraftwerk's album The Man-Machine, to good result. Boyskout manages to stay true to the song's original instrumentation, while at the same time bringing it up to date by decreasing the role of Kraftwerk's synthesizer. Despite the gender shift, Satterfield nails the vocals. "The Model" fits on the album not for a thematic reason, rather for the similarities in the songwriting approach. Boyskout songs are reflective; they recount a situation, question a situation, or narrate someone else's situation. "The Model" fits in to the narration category.

The last three tracks prove that that there is no weak spot on the album. The eerie five-minute closer, "Track 12," marks the second Beatles (longtime Satterfield favorite) reference. The first reference appears on "Fantastic" in which Boyskout shares songwriting credits with Lennon and McCartney, and the second which quotes the chorus of Rubber Soul's "Drive My Car."

Although Another Life is a giant step forward from their incredible School of Etiquette, Boyskout still aren't getting the press or the nationwide indie fan-base they deserve. From the records, you can tell Boyskout is one of the special bands that practices all the time for the fun of it and loves to play live. Be sure to catch them on their current U.S. tour. A- | Joseph O'Fallon

RIYL: Kim Deal/Liz Phair voice with Cure/Pixies music

 

Tour dates: 11/24: Brooklyn, NY | Supreme Trading; 11/15: Jersey City, NJ | WFMU Radio Show; 11/25: New Haven, CT | Rudy's; 11/26: Pittsburgh, PA | Garfield Artworks; 11/28: Chicago, IL | Empty Bottle; 11/29: Iowa City, IA | The Picador; 11/30: Kansas City, MO | The Brick; 12/1: Denver, CO | 15th St. Tavern; 12/2: Reno, NV | The Green Room; 12/3: San Francisco, CA | Element Lounge; 12/6: San Francisco, CA | Trans Am; 12/7: San Francisco, CA | The Eagle Tavern; 12/31: San Francisco, CA | Bottom of the Hill

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