Friday, May 21, 2021

Boys Life - Departures And Landfalls LP


Topshelf (2015, Reissue)

I'm not sure when the first time I heard the word emo was, but it definitely had a different connotation than it does today, or even that it ended up having in the mid 90s.  When I first heard it the bands being talked about were the early DC bands like Rites of Spring.  Then in the mid 90s, it started being used to describe the midwestern scene that was popping up that included Promise Ring, Get Up Kids and bands like that.  But to me, if we're going to misuse that word, the band that is the quintessential mid 90s version of that word (and is actually a good band) is Boys Life.

I first heard Boys Life when Headhunter/Cargo send me a CD copy of Departures and Landfalls when I was the music editor at my college newspaper in 1996.  I had reviewed and interviewed fluf and ended up on their promo list, for which I was grateful.  I remember looking at the album cover and thinking how nice and tranquil it seemed.  I'm not positive I knew what to expect, but ever since that first moment I put the CD in, I've had a fondness for this band that I never had for the others that were in the same camp, like Braid.

The guitar work on this record is wild.  It's jangly and noisy at the same time while veering crazily from quiet to chaotic.  The band is painting soundscapes along the way, but never losing track of the fact that they are playing songs and a little structure is a nice thing to have as the wander from idea to idea.  Departures And Landfalls was never a record I would listen to a lot.  I know it well after all of these years, but it's not a record that lends itself to mixtapes or casual listens.  But sometimes, the mood is just perfect for this album and when that mood strikes, I'm glad to finally have it on LP.

Boys Life - Departures And Landfalls:

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