The Boys of Summer – What It’s All About
Record Label: Authentik Artists
Release Date: June 15, 2010
Around this time last year I wrote a review for a band called The Dangerous Summer. For whatever reason, be it my impending college graduation or fear of the unknown or indigestion, their record Reach for the Sun struck me in a completely memorable way. As I listen to The Boys of Summer’s debut What It’s All About, I can’t help but think of AJ Perdomo and company's lasting effect. Maybe it’s the vocals or maybe it’s the honesty or maybe it’s the fresh take on pop-punk redundancies. I honestly don’t understand what’s so enthralling about What It’s All About, and that’s usually the best praise a record I like can receive. Think about it this way: I have lots of friends, and I can remember when I met most of them: you know, the circumstances, the conversations, etc. But my very best friends, well, those relationships just happened. We clicked; I’m not sure when or over what. That’s the sort of ambiguous yet wholly personal feeling I get when spinning a song like opener “Things In Twos.” It matters to me more than I expected, but it also matters in a way I absolutely needed. Simply put (and laced with meteoric amounts of positive bias), The Boys of Summer are something spectacular.
If forced to guess, I’d say the dual vocals of Jon-Paul Bakaric and Scab combine to make this album unforgettable. The volley from scratchy to clean, from rock to radio-pop, elevates otherwise “normal” songs like “Is She Fiction” and “This Is It” to Best-Songs-of-2010 status. Having said that, I can’t discount the subtle electronics that nudge songs forward, or the energetic drumming (which is spotlighted throughout). And while What It’s All About’s front half makes the most permanent indention, the second half remains necessary due to its experimentation. When the vocal harmonies of “Maps and Magnets” begins, I can’t help but hear pop maestros House of Heroes. And the mix of electric and acoustic on the album’s title track finds The Boys emotional yet subdued. It’s just refreshing to hear a band get their point across without bashing us over the head.
But I think the strongest statement artists can make is this: People either hate or love what you do. As long as there is an emotional reaction, they've succeeded. When you hear the opening riff of “Night Light”, you’ll either be pissed about its similarity to The Dangerous Summer or absolutely thrilled about hearing a worthy sequel to “The Permanent Rain.” For a pop-punk band to instigate such emotion – there should be few people who “ride the fence” on this release – it must mean that The Boys of Summer have learned the intricacies of a fickle “scene” audience. And I guess that’s really my favorite thing about What It’s All About: intelligence. Usually, as a 23 year-old asshole, I listen to a pop-punk record and have to enter an adolescent mindset. I don’t feel like that’s necessary here. In fact, I think it’s disrespectful to this fine group of musicians. They’ve spent a majority of their lives figuring out what we, the Internet douchebags, want from a catchy, pop-oriented band. It elates me to say that The Boys of Summer have figured it out. Which isn’t to say that there’s a formula (although, there probably is), but regardless of what notes create a dopamine reaction in our brain, What It’s All About rules. And it will continue to rule for a very long time.
Recommended If You Like: The Dangerous Summer, All Time Low, House of Heroes, Steel Train
i listened to the itunes previews of this... i would buy it in a second, but i just cant get over the "electronics" they irritate me so much. They make most songs on all time lows new record unbearable for me, and I think they will do the same on this record.