Our next review for Boyracer will be for their 2002 release entitled To Get a Better Hold You’ve Got To Loosen Yr Grip. By now the band’s lineup has gotten through another iteration with new additions, namely Matty Green on guitar and Jen Turrell on the bass. Despite this change, Stewart Anderson’s creative voice still rings true on this record. The band’s signature sound and song structures hasn’t gone through much of a change, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as this record simply adds more to what we already love about them. Simply put, these songs embody the ethos of indie pop. It’s close to the heart, grounded songs without any fancy bells and whistles that sometimes get in the way of self expression. Anderson and crew somehow managed to squeeze in 22 tracks in 35 minutes, making this a wild ride with plenty of cathartic quick bursts. In some ways this prolific output can be compared to that of Robert Pollard’s Guided by Voices, with them favoring large track listings consisting of mostly short songs. But while both are within the indie space, Pollard delves more into bombastic rock while Anderson focuses on scrappy punk pop. It’s no wonder why these groups still have a constant output after all these decades. The level of enthusiasm for the craft is evident in these packed records.
Tracks like “Temper” and “They’re Making Money Off You” showcase the band’s propensity for noise. All of this culminating in the jarring tones of the centerpiece “Razor”. But what differentiates them from other punk bands is their relative lack of anger and aggression expressed in their songs. Instead there are plenty of cuts in here that center around love and affection, with great hooks to boot – making it perfect for escapist fun.
Examples of these are the sweet and charming “Nothing Left”, which is sung by Turrell in a playful tone, followed by “Stars and Car Parks” which is an up tempo acoustic serenade. Even in their more rowdy tunes, Boyracer veers more into grounded and relatable themes.
With such a large track listing as this the band also adds some room for experimentation. “Nostalgic For a Time I Hardly Remember” stands out as the only time so far where the band veers towards the melancholic. To top it all off, the record is closed by a Christmas song of all things. “Every Day Is Christmas With You” is a wonderful song of love and appreciation that can instantly get you into the festive mood. As I’ve said earlier, this record is more of what we already love. To Get a Better Hold You’ve Got To Loosen Yr Grip is surely a landmark album for Boyracer in the early 2000s.