Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Following my first proper introduction to This Many Boyfriends supporting Allo Darlin’ recently, I’ve been playing catch up buying in quick succession their three releases: 2010’s “Getting A Life With...” EP, 2011’s “Young Lovers Go Pop!” single and this year’s two track single “Starling”. One of the tracks from that first EP (and the opening song of their set at the Deaf Institute) is a neat statement of intent: ‘I Don't Like You ('Cos You Don't Like The Pastels).’ For This Many Boyfriends side with that defiantly shambolic strain of indie-pop that can be traced back to The Television Personalities and then the name-checked Pastels. The earlier releases are a joyful clatter of “mildly talented, ferociously proud” (as ‘Trying Is Good’ would have it) lofi bubblegum pop. Melody and organisation creep in amongst the sugary spikiness, Northern vowel inflections and name-dropping of other bands, but randomly rather than in a linear progression as though polished sophistication was accidental rather than intended.

And so to ‘Starling’ released last month by the Leeds quartet as a fanzine with download code. It was recorded with their guitarist Pete Sykes who died suddenly last November of a brain haemorrhage. Lord knows what this did to the other four as individuals but all credit to them as a band for moving forward and be able to release this, in part a tribute to their friend. Both songs are slicker and tauter and more richly layered than earlier efforts. The title track is a two-and-a-half minute lean-and-fast rush of angular pop, sweetly-shrill guitar riffs and pattering drams, matching wonder and infatuation (“I think you have the soul of a new born”) with a single line chorus about living for a long time. The second half adds in an infectiously giddy ba-ba-bah-bah-ba-ba refrain which is so effective they repeat it on the following song ‘Just Saying’. This song continues if not ups the singalong poppiness of its companion finishing with a screamed denunciation of pet dislikes: “And I hate chillwave / and I hate witch house”.

This Many Boyfriends - 'Starling' by Angular Recording Co

Such petty denunciations, the hero worship roll calls and releasing your single as a hand-drawn fanzine (with “
stories, recipes, pop quizzes and other lesser spotted sightings”) could all leave This Many Boyfriends as indistinguishable from the wheeling flock as the bird they sing of. But in the same way the band find beauty in said feathered friend (“I think you have the soul of a starling / so precious and careful and clean“) This Many Boyfriends have familiar but rare qualities – not least resilience – amongst their clutch of superior indie-pop songs. It’s been a rapid but fun conversion.

This Many Boyfriends Starling [BUY]


kb said...

Love the song AND the fanzine. Great to see and hear a band doing more than the average and the obvious....

The Archivist said...

MUCH more than the average indeed!