Is it too much to ask that we have more albums like Boys School’s Boys School? Is it too much to ask that we have more albums that sound like they were written in 1967, when rock music was in one of its strongest periods during the summer of love? Boys School is a breath of fresh air in a world that seems to be ignorant of rock music of past ages, and they do a fine job of giving classic garage rock new life. These Boys bring a mix of garage rock- with hints of psychedelic and proto-punk- and give it a modern twist that gives the music a new and classic feel at the same time.
From the very band and album name to the boredom that front man Brett Farkas seems to embody on songs like “Talking to Myself” and “Lying Next 2U (To You),” Boys School definitely have the adolescent undertones necessary for garage rock under their belts. Unlike the intended sloppy sound that early garage rock was known for, all of the songs on Boys School reflect well thought out crafting and planning. The lyrics on the LP harken back to adolescent themes of garage rock, with many of the songs dealing with girls, attraction, and showing off a rebellious, angst-filled attitude.
While the album’s opener, “Medicated,” has the spirit of garage, the second track, “Talking To Myself,” is the crown jewel of the album and best shows a synthesis of the sounds of the late ‘60: a mix of a rapid guitar, bored vocal style mixed with the organ and clean, echoing guitar of psychedelic rock. Think “Happy Together,” by The Turtles. “So Cool,” “747,” and “There It Goes,” also do well in distinguishing themselves from the album while also representing some of the unifying sound found in the album. Each of the above tracks has a different timbre and overall sonic structure, allowing for the distinctions to be possible. “747,” the album’s closing track, has some of the album’s best riffs, and has a rawer, straighter rock ‘n’ roll feel than any other track on the LP.
Boys School does not go without its flaws, though. The couple acoustic, ballad-y tracks on the album feel out of place. This is not to say they are bad, as “Out to Sea” is the most beautiful track on the album, with bright finger-picked guitar and a fantastic sonic landscape filled out by string accompaniment. “I’m With You,” however, gets a bit pitchy, feels a bit too cliché and is out of place with the authenticity and strength of the rest of the songs on the disc. The interlude of “I am the Wolf,” while only 30 seconds, leaves me very confused as to why it is on the album at all. “I am the Wolf” does not even seem to be a space filler but just a random after thought that happens to be there.
Do not let the above comments dissuade you from listening or buying Boys School, because the album is very much worth your time. Boys School create vintage music that connects to the modern day, and this mix of old and new helps create a great, rocking album.
Originally Published on The Rotation, WGTB Georgetown Radio's Music Blog, on 12/4/12