Review: Girls Against Boys

Girls Against Boys
“You Can’t Fight What You Can’t See”
(Jade Tree)

Y’know what’s the coolest thing about Girls Against Boys?  They never made it ‘big’.  Oh sure, they got tons of industry cred and respect all around (12 years and 6 Albums, plus numerous EP’s will earn you a devoted following), but they’ve never ‘broke’.  The video channels rarely touch them and I never hear them on the radio (aside from cool college and underground stations).  So as a long time fan (my first exposure was the ‘Cruise Yourself’ release and tour circa ’93), I appreciate that the mainstream hasn’t embraced their moody electro-rock valium trips and sapped the sound for all it’s worth.  The band truly does have its own sound, hard to compare (qualifying them as genius) and constantly evolving.  Except Scott McCloud’s vocals.  He’s eternally on about 3 pills too many and uses a distinctive whisper drawl of a vocal approach that rarely deviates.  Sets a slick mood over the scratched and sampled, stripped down and looped vibe the band distills.  Eli Janney supplies the sampler and second bass (bass expansion unit supreme) which gives the low end, club funk feel.  Perfect for cruising the strip high on various pharmaceuticals. While maintaining expected formulas, this release is a bit more raw and ‘song’ orientated and not as glossy as their brilliant previous release ‘Freak-on-ica’.  Much of the material kind of pounds away on a straighter direction, which is a shame, cause I believe most people are attracted to GvsB for their eclectic use of sounds.  It feels restrained and not as experimental as the rest of their catalog consistently strived to achieve.  Solid song writing is undeniable, this just lacks the sonic hallucinations their music used to induce.  Someone slipped me a placebo with this one.