“Money grubbing / what a racket / I’ll punch you up the bracket” opens Boyracer’s 2006 release. A defiant call to a shady industry business and a triumphant declaration for the DIY approach to making music. In A Punch Up the Bracket we find the band more than a decade in their careers, and their sound has gotten leaps and bounds better than previous offerings. The vocals are more refined, their melodic chops only getting better and better as we progress through their discography. The bass seems more pronounced and playful, sometimes veering off to provide its own counterpoints to the main melody. Yet the garage sound still remains with their scrappy guitars and its feedback-swelling goodness.
We find the band upgrading their sonic pallet in this record with “Second Hand Youth” backed by a honky-tonk organ and “Secret Jokes” embellished with synth sounds to name only a few. The latter of which is highlighted by a nugget of offbeat wisdom: “If you go looking for bitterness, someone will give you a lemon”
While the record has a lot of the quick burst-pop tunes that we’ve come to know and love from the band, there are some notables here that veer away from the formula that almost demands inspection. “No Tears” strips down its drums in favor of weaving surf guitar riffs and subdued vocals. It creates a calm and enjoying atmosphere with Anderson and Turrell’s vocals playing along in a carousel of wonder. There’s another similar outlier in “Perennial Underdog” which uses clean guitars (of all things!) over a bossa beat and dreamy atmosphere. It moves into a fun and whimsical section by the midpoint before it launches off into an almost space rock vibe by the end. A truly unique track in all of what we’ve heard from the band so far.
For those who are looking for the noise side of the band there’s plenty of that in spades. Especially fun is the centerpiece “Normal” that mocks the norms of society and is sort of a tongue in cheek anthem for those who don’t find themselves fitting in: “Sometimes I wish that I was normal / get a job get married / have a baby or two”, Turrell sings in an unhinged tone before growling out a scream that blends with the amplifier’s feedback. For those who are looking for the gentler side of the band there’s also “Yr Love It Lies To You”, which is a thoughtful song which finds the narrator consoling a friend after a bad heartache.
Lengthy releases, consistent growth and down-to-earth fun indie rock. These are things we’ve come to expect from Boyracer and they don’t seem to be running out anytime soon.