What does the 21st century promise in its ubiquity of interconnection? Does it allege an innovative spirit meant to propel itself into infinity, where we’ve never before gone? Or does it suggest a refinement of the cultural institutions that brought us here, building on what we know? Can modernity promise anything to its adherents beyond a guarantee of a lifelong swim awash in the fervent, chaotic ocean of life? Perhaps qualified, perhaps not, Montreal’s jangly post-punk trio Boy Friends hazards their best guesses as to these quandaries throughout their debut full length, Magnet School.
Through the candid aptitude of their punk demeanor, the band reflects these metropolitan concerns in the album’s single, “Finer Points,” stating bluntly, “the fear of safety in groups is what keeps us violent.” Though a decidedly poignant lyric, around it is woven the signature sound of Boy Friends: anthemic and driving with virtuosic articulations, cutting at the throat of contemporary ennui.
Formed years ago under the title, “The This Many Boyfriends Club,” Boy Friends is coming off, according to the band, “a hard stylistic pivot” with the departure of a couple of its founding members. Exclaim.ca has described their aforementioned single “Finer Points” as “an arty garage-pop number, in which nimble guitar licks and angular rhythms are delivering [sic] with punk brashness.” Casimir Frederic Coquette Kaplan, guitarist and singer, known otherwise as Cas, describes the album thusly, “In ten songs the album embodies the transition between our sugar-shocked pop-post-punk past and our jagged, chimeric present.”
Together, Cas, Andrew (bass), and Evan (drums) promise the interconnection of pop and punk, translating the former through accessible intrigue, and the latter through a tasteful refinement of the cultural institution itself. Effectively, Boy Friends seems poised to reel in a modern focus of the incessant machinations of punk and pop crossover. With angling guitars ringing reminiscent of The Smiths against the rhythmic backdrop hearkening the metrics of Tera Melos, it behooves one to attend Magnet School at their earliest convenience.
Press photo by Lesya Nakoneczny