Boys Like Girls join the punk-pop armada
David Jackson
1/8/2007 12:06:46 AM

Producer Matt Squire has had his hand in some great material recently. Squire’s worked on new albums from Panic! At The Disco, Cute is What We Aim For, and Hit The Lights, just to name a few. So does Boys Like Girls' self-titled debut [Columbia/Red Ink] live up to the standards? Yes – maybe too well. BLG's sound is very similar to other artists in the recent punk-pop deluge, with a few of its own unique advantages and failures.

Elements of the album feel very re-used, but at least they're the good ones. Definite standbys are crunchy guitars, sing-along choruses, and a big helping of earnest delivery. There's medication, heartbreak, and righteous triumph to be heard – Boys Like Girls have at least had the sense to vary up the themes of their songs (by genre standards, anyway).

Boys Like Girls impress most where they vary the punk-pop formula or enact it very well, and the real strength of this CD is concentrated in a few standout tracks: “The Great Escape” and “Up Against the Wall”, for instance. The best song, however, is probably “Hero/Heroine,” and the band has done well to select it for their first single. The advantage of “Hero/Heroine” is how it delays introduction of more traditional heavy rhythm guitar, opting instead to open with an extended, more mellow verse. Little things are what set a band apart in a genre with so much recycled material, and it would be good for Boys Like Girls to explore that route on their next disc – asking themselves, ‘what makes us different?’

Many other punk-pop acts have answered this question successfully, including Matt Squire's earlier projects. Panic! At The Disco, for example, plays on the theatrical, melodramatic qualities of their music, and Cute stands out with their well-rhymed, sarcastic wordplay. It looks like Boys Like Girls isn't quite there yet, but until then, their debut album will fit nicely in your collection with your other fun-loving rock CDs – as long as you've still got room.


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