Boy Kill Boy
Civilian


2.5
average

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
April 13th, 2009 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Get off the bandwagon and put down the handbook.

Back at the turn of the century something remarkable happened to the British music scene. The seemingly impenetrable wave of pop music that had defined the 90’s finally dispersed and a gap in the music scene opened. It was American band The Strokes that provided inspiration for the new wave of indie music to form, leading to acts such as The Libertines and, later, The Killers releasing their debut albums. The critical and commercial success that these albums attained opened a metaphorical floodgate, and now in the back end of the noughties, British music is again suffering from an abundance of acts trying to ride this new wave before it too ultimately disperses.

Boy Kill Boy are a prime example of one of these acts. Hailing from London this four piece create music reminiscent of Hot Fuss era Killers, with intense synths used in conjunction with a range of pop sensibilities to distract from a somewhat stiff vocal performance. Whilst the premise is clever, the execution on Civilian leaves a lot to be admired. Truth be told, the band members themselves don’t really do anything wrong. Musically the album is great; smart pop beats with irresistible choruses. Soaring guitars and a tight rhythm section along with an abundance of the aforementioned synthesizer seem to be pretty standard from the band and altogether creates a very tight package.

When all band members are on form, the music is undoubtedly great, with highlights such as Suzie and Back Again delivering not only insanely catchy choruses, but also danceable rhythms and a good sense of fun. Unfortunately for Boy Kill Boy, it all gets very old very fast. It becomes apparent very soon into the record that the band lack that creative spark that great bands have, instead just recycling the same general formula with few variants between songs. It seems that Boy Kill Boy have reverted to that tried and tested trend of releasing catchy singles in order to reel in an audience and filling the rest of the album with inferior carbon copies. It is this lack of ambition that kills the album before it has even got going. It is an unfortunate coincidence that this type of dance-floor friendly disco-pop has been done before so many times before that the bar has been raised exceptionally high. This, coupled with the inoffensive nature in which the songs have been structured, means that whilst adequate for a debut album, Civilian ultimately comes up short.

There are a few tracks where the boys attempt to experiment. The tempo is slowed in both Ivy Parker and ‘hidden’ track Exit. The former fails badly, with the slow riffs dragging on and the monotonous tones of Chris Peck even more noticeable amongst the uninspired musicianship on offer. The latter, however, is a late highlight, showing an imagination and genuine ability shown only in glimpses throughout the material that precedes it. Although the dark nature found throughout most of the album is still present, the severe tempo change and decreased reliance on the synthesizer makes way for a very simple yet effective guitar riff that adds a previously unseen layer to the track.

At the end of the day, Civilian is a rather inconsistent album. Although undoubtedly containing some seriously infectious tracks in singles Back Again and Suzie the heavy influence from The Killers is at times too blatant and hinders the creative output from the band. The simplistic musical approach used generally offers too little in the way of variation and as a result many tracks sound too similar to one another to offer the listener much in the way of aural stimulation. Despite this, Boy Kill Boy do manage to tap into their potential a few times on the album and for this deserve some credit. Given the commercial success of this album in the UK it is fair to say that Boy Kill Boy are the new poster boys of the much maligned NME scene, a title that will undeniably generate a sophomore effort. However, Boy Kill Boy would do well to invest sufficient time in their own creative endeavours before the wave they are surfing suddenly crashes back to Earth.

Recommended Tracks
Back Again
Suzie
On And On

Overall 2.5 Average



Recent reviews by this author
Howl Griff Fragile DiamondMarina Electra Heart
Say Anything Anarchy, My DearJack White Blunderbuss
Battles Dross GlopTake One Car It's Going To Be A Nice Day
user ratings (31)
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I bring Eastery goodness in the form of a review, enjoy kiddo's.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


22494 Comments


Fantastic summary Ross... It really is a good summation of the main point you make in the review. And I can hardly fault the review at all, since it does provide both the strengths & weaknesses of the LP. Being nit-picky, I had to do a double take on the introductory paragraph to see if you actually called The Killers British. But since you technically didn't, you earn a pos.

As for the band themselves; I can't say I have heard of them, which is surprising since I've listened to a lot of British music over the past year or so & this is the kind of music that I have encountered time & time again.

AliW1993
April 13th 2009


7511 Comments


Excellent review. I actually nearly bought this yesterday, as I thought the singles were pretty good, but reading this I'm glad I didn't.

Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah I see the point your making Davey. The first time I wrote that intro I basically did say The Killers were British, so I had to re-word it to get it as it is now. I was hoping it was clearer but if you had to re-read it I guess it wasn't, might look into changing it again.

Other than that thanks for the positive words :-) I'm surprised you haven't heard of them as they are quite big around here, or rather they were big in 06/07 around when the album was released. I'd say the singles are worth checking out if nothing else.This Message Edited On 04.13.09

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


22494 Comments


I'd say I began my voyage through British music in late '07/early '08, so I guess I just missed them. Presuming they are still together, I'm guessing that their follow-up couldn't be too far away.

AliW1993
April 13th 2009


7511 Comments


I'm pretty sure they've already released a second, might be wrong though. Don't think it got much attention.

Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks Ali, based on how much you were going to pay for it I'd say you made the right decision, but if you could get it for cheap enough then go for it.



Davey, the follow up came out last month to practically no interest. I'll probably download it and review it soonish but I have a funny feeling that its gonna be a weaker version of this.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


22494 Comments


Ross' penultimate sentence suggests not, but I may be mis-reading it. If Ali is correct, get on to it Ross... We need more discography reviewers around here. LOL!

EDIT: Please ensure a certain other review comes before it though!

This Message Edited On 04.13.09

AliW1993
April 13th 2009


7511 Comments


It was £3.99 or three for £10. There were three things I wanted more, but I might get this next time.

Also, there's another album in the database here, but no ones rated it yet

This Message Edited On 04.13.09

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


22494 Comments


By the way guys, you Brits will like the start of my next review (I'll be putting it up maybe this time tomorrow). I expect some nice back & forth conversation regarding a certain quote included in it. No, it's nothing about your drinking water this time!

Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah Davey I actually wrote that conclusion about 3 months ago, so it reads as if they haven't released the follow up, should probably make a small edit there as well.

Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol I'm on a streak, I've already written the intro for the next album.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


22494 Comments


Does it begin with "Bah ding ding ding, bah dah dah"?

Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I was talking bout next BKB album, which is impressive as I haven't heard any of it yet (pretty general intro, like the one for this review).



For your interest CF review starts like this : The year is 2004, British pop culture has just hit a new low with recycled trash repeatedly making number one spot in the charts. Crazy Frog is the new trendy phenomenon hitting your stores this week.

AliW1993
April 13th 2009


7511 Comments


doesn't sound negative enough

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


22494 Comments


Yes, that is a fair effort to write an intro to a review of an album you have yet to hear. Then again, that's what I did for my review that I will put up tomorrow. Although, you will realise why when I post it, since the intro topic basically wrote itself.

And I agree with Ali, you need an extra negative word or 3 amongst "recycled trash". Can you also throw in a Jive Bunny reference?

Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'll do my best if you tell me what a Jive bunny is.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


22494 Comments


Hahaha. I think they were called Jive Buny & The Mixmasters or something like that. It was basically a group of DJs who had a huge worldwide #1 smash in about the late 80's with some song which mish-mashed old 60s Rock & Roll songs by the likes of Bill Haley, Elvis, etc...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jive_Bunny


Minus The Flair
Emeritus
April 13th 2009


870 Comments


Only heard Suzie but that song rules.

Fugue
April 13th 2009


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

OK Davey, Jive Bunny do sound like an earlier version of Crazy Frog, I'll make sure to have a little listen.



Minus: Yeah like I said, all the singles are good really.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy