Review Summary: Meet the L.A. residents of faux-Britain.
The afterthoughts that may stick with the listener after Billy Boy On Poison’s debut album, Drama Junkie Queen
most likely will not stray farther than “…So these guys are great at basic rock." Or, alternatively: "...So these guys have seen A Clockwork Orange
.” And both may be true – these L.A. punks have aced every rock'n'roll test thrown at them - but then again, they’ve had plenty of time to cheat from being held back many times. Chunky garage riffs? Check. Cheesy lyrics that would make a coma victim roll their eyes? You’ve got ‘em. Maybe it’s the fact that the age of the bad boy has declined that makes singer Davis LeDuke (who is not British however much he'd like you to believe) sound like a menacing stalker rather than an aggressive seducer: ”I'm creeping through your hallway darling/Coming to make you sweat/I'll make it to your bedroom, honey/I can make you wet.
Although the Billy Boys clearly rely on textbook rock, they actually do it well, technically speaking. The years of studying how to screech exactly
like The Vines’ Craig Nicholls, how to advertise Jet’s power-chord glory, and how to recreate classic rock’s most beaten-to-death guitar solos have not been wasted. If only they weren’t so transparent, there would be no catch when recognizing the flying-V ignitions of guitarist Ryan Wallengren or when enjoying flat-out rockers such as “Drive Me Insane”. The track momentarily erases your thoughts of ol’ Billy Boy literally beating classic rock idols to death by delivering a simply fun track. Herein lies the strength of Drama Junkie Queen
– milking its isolated tracks. Along with the opener, you might want to also have the ‘ode to glam’ “Saturday’s Child” as a part of your random party shuffle (Just tell your friends it’s an old British rock band they’ve never heard of to turn that table of inferiority). Be warned, though: listening to the album straight through would be an unexciting and narrow journey for almost anyone.
Their weakness isn’t necessarily limited to their inability to be experiment. You’ll see however rare it is, they show small signs of poking from underneath the pile of artless snow. Frustrating enough, LeDuke has to ruin that for us, too. He comes across as seriously repelling and abominable in “Higher Power”, the band’s chance at drifting from the exhausting 4/4 routine. The movement into the guitar solo is very excellent, and the song would be a favorite if it didn’t feature LeDuke’s Hot Topic whining: "Oh sh**/F*** you/We'll do what we want to do/We rule/You suck/We don't really give a f***”
. Cue the listener’s thoughts, “Oh wait…he’s serious about this rebel thing?”
Even the less obvious lyrical blunders start to irritate like in “Leaf Clover”. LeDuke had to have been holding in his urge to pat himself on the back every few seconds for annoyingly writing formal lines like "Father staggers through the door"
. Yep, he said father
. His act is like watching a tight rope walker with a club foot and it’s what blocks the gate for Drama Junkie
to travel into the guilty pleasure arena where at least
it could be taken more seriously.
Aside from the poor lyrics, defeated sound, and the overall lack of daring to make anything of themselves besides your typical throwback act complete with How To Play Rock Guitar, Vol. 1
riffs, there’s no fighting it when an energetic song claims you. Drama Junkie
has a decent amount of punk rockers, "On My Way" for example, and the band could’ve held their own back then. What can be concluded for Billy Boy is that for them, trying to be original is like trying to eat soup with chopsticks. If the band wants to impress and really move some bodies after this forgettable and insulting debut, it may be wise to: A) Drop the rebel act. B) Remember that only British people can form British bands. And C) Realize that underneath all of this nonsense lays some talented musicians and potential for an authentic, energetic sophomore album. If LeDuke will alow it.
: “On My Way”, “Drive Me Insane”