The Boston Boys – “Idea of Love”

Grade: B+

Key Tracks: “Between You and Me” “Become Like One”

The Boston Boys, a folk-heavy roots band now decidedly living in Brooklyn, have always relied on their diverse sound as their strongest quality. I wrote about “Keep You Satisfied,” their last EP, that the guys were able blend folk, rock, country and americana elements into a sound that’s both predictably shiny and refreshingly original. “Idea of Love,” their third EP, keeps this blend just as strong.

The opening song, the aptly titled “The Beginning,” sets the mood for the EP. The band doesn’t start with a bang, instead opening with a slow and string-heavy track that’s more psychedelic than it is folk. It’s the EP’s most interesting song and, although it ultimately doesn’t really resemble the five songs that follow it, it does set the tone the band is looking for – there’s going to be a lot of little surprises. From there they jump into “Between You and Me,” a much more traditional country-folk song. It’s rhythmic, has a medium tempo and some pleasant vocal harmonies. It’s more what you’d expect from a band like the Boston Boys; it sounds conventional, but it doesn’t fit under the monikers of ‘folk’ or ‘country,’ instead landing in their own little niche in between.

“Times Like These” is more stripped-down, largely just vocals and guitar, a decidedly folksy move. And as soon as the mood calms for it, the more fun and drum-heavy “Become Like One” starts. The transition between these two songs works well, as they show the band at their calmest and highest points, respectively. “Become Like One” really is a fun track, breaking out of folk to incorporate some standard rock elements (that stay true through the next song, as well). Final track “You Don’t Need Me” is a slow, folk-rock type ballad, a solemn way to end the EP.

As with “Keep You Satisfied,” the band’s diversity in the music makes for a fun listen. The lyrics might sometimes get drowned out because of it, but their constant mixing of genres can make for a unique listen, and helps each song on the EP separate itself from the others. The band has a distinctly American sound, like their music should be played on a front porch in a small town on a warm summer day. They take the best parts of American genres – folk, country, bluegrass and americana – add a little rock from time to time, and produce a sound that’s both wholly original and lovingly American. It’s surely no surprise that the Boston Boys are named after an American city, because their music serves to optimistically celebrate a whole range of American heritages.

The EP is officially released on Tuesday, May 20th.

-By Andrew McNally

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The Boston Boys – “Keep You Satisfied”

(Photo Credit: TheBostonBoys.Bandcamp.com)

Grade: B+

The Boston Boys, operating out of New York but formed at Boston’s Berklee School of Music (not my alma mater, unfortunately), put a surprising amount of influence into an EP that’s roughly twenty minutes long. Though billed as a folk and americana band, The Boys show hints of bluegrass and soul, and even some country. The EP is diverse, showing broad appeal alongside a youthful energy and musical proficiency.

Opening track “Satisfied” packs a lot of energy into it’s folk and gospel roots, with some resounding vocals to boot. The band is consisted of Eric Robertson, Duncan Wickel, Josh Hari and Nicholas Falk, and all four are credited as singers. Second track “Amelia” mixes pop-like vocals with traditional folk guitar and violin, starting off melodic and slow before kicking up the tempo with some keyboard. “Endless Creation” has an incredibly catchy melody based around a couple different instruments, and some striking vocals. These help to save the song from some tired and overused lyrics. “Honeycomb” takes on much more of a country sound than heard previously, while still sneaking in a little blues. The band messes around a little with volume, keeping the song very quiet for segments before having stringed instruments kick back in for a quick rhythm. The final song, “Take Me Under,” is a ballad, and a prettier song than the first four. Although it too suffers from some overdone lyrics, it succeeds as an effective ballad and a soft finale.

The Boston Boys seem to be aiming for big audiences with their mistake-free blending of genres, and their proficiency might just lead them there. Despite having a limited number of songs (and this EP doesn’t come out until October), The Boston Boys were asked to perform as one of seven official bands on Obama’s re-election campaign. The Boys have a knack for bluegrass and folk, and they prove that on this EP. Its only faults are some tepid lyrics, and they are faults that are more than easy to overlook.

-By Andrew McNally