This article was first published on Louder Than War on 28 September 2012.
This Many Boyfriends – This Many Boyfriends (Angular Recording Company)
CD / DL / LP
Available 8 October 2012
Leeds indiepoppers This Many Boyfriends release their debut and eponymously-titled album next week. We find it’s light on the twee and heavy on the power pop, bringing in touchstones from across the alternative spectrum to be all at once familiar and new.
With a squeal of feedback This Many Boyfriends kick off their debut album with a rocksteady beat, scuzzy guitar and a Smiths-esque vocal delivering kitchen-sink lyrics for the modern day.
Produced by Ryan Jarman, The Cribs‘ sound and influence is strong – from the revelling in the depth of their accents to the beefed up choruses, the elder band’s style is rife. But this is no tribute band, in the shouty backing vocals and chiming guitar of (I Should Be A) Communist they pay reverence with a subtle twist that makes it homage rather than imitation.
Lead single from the album, Number One, is a marvellous slice of Motown-tinged indiepop. Reminiscent of Noah and the Whale or Mystery Jets it’s all jangles and cute call and response male / female lines.
But This Many Boyfriends don’t want to be pigeonholed as twee so they throw in some more Cribs-esque punk pop power chords and Yorkshire-vowled vocals while scoring maximum indiepop reference points with I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels). Back at the start of the summer this saw the coy hipster crowd of Indietracks abandon self-awareness, raise their eyes and hands and pogo along. It sounded great echoing round the engine shed there on a rainy afternoon and it sounds even better, even more raw on record.
And no-where more on this album than on that song does the adoration the band has for those in their own record collection come through: “I didn’t leave when you said you didn’t like Springsteen. I didn’t even flinch when you said you hated the Go-Betweens. But what you said about Baby Honey was truly unforgivable”.
This is a band who love who they listen to, who wanted to form a band because of the band’s they loved. There is a feeling of kinship in this album, that even where something feels a little off kilter or falls a little short (and it isn’t often) there is enough warmth, passion and infatuation for their melodic forefathers that they’re carried through.
That’s What Diaries Are For sees more of the brash vocal lines and to-the-point lyrics delivered in a style which balances right on the line between upbeat and toppling into laughter. Perhaps this is a result of the intensive recording process the band went through to commit this album to record or perhaps it’s just the music taking hold. Either way, it brings an extra level of sneering superiority which only emphasises the subject matter.
Album closer Everything gets a little darker, edgier and discordant. Those male/female vocals come into play again and are softer, blurrier than before. This is the mist of dew settling around you as you walk home in the early hours, it is time to think and not being sure you are settled with what you find.
None of the songs get close to worrying the four minute marker. It’s these quick blasts of laudation for all the years, all the beats and gib and scornful words that have already come to pass in British indie that make this an album that sounds so familiar and yet so very new.
It’s a wonderful thing to behold though – a band who are so very clearly loving every minute of what they do. They’re having fun on this album and you can hear it in every note. In the midst of the serious shoegazers and britpop rennaisance bores they are a breath of fresh air.
Make your way to the dancefloor folks. Succumb, for this is the joyous sound of a one-band indie disco.
All words by Sarah Lay.