Tuesday, 27 November 2012
REVIEW: Bos Angeles - Taking Out The Trash
*Originally published for The 405 (27/11/12)
It's mid-summer, the car windows are wound down, your friends are drinking in the back seat and the air stinks of West Coast hubris. You're not in Los Angeles, however, you're in Bos Angeles, UK and it's pissing it down with rain.
According to a local travel website, Boscombe is lovingly referred to as 'Bos Vegas' or 'Bos Angeles' (though we'll leave the level of irony to the opinions of those who've visited). Three lads from the area have also decided to name their band after it, and they're here to brighten things up a bit.
'Beach Slalom' catapulted Bos Angeles into buzz band territory in November last year, catching them the attention of many a tastemaker. Such a response was inevitable with the band scoffing the liquid hooks of Beach Fossils, WAVVES and Girls, yet sounding distinctly rawer. Lazy, pubescent vocals groan over prickly guitars on 'Beach Slalom', with distorted bass and kitchen pot drums thrashing in the background. It's an addictive sound.
A year later, Bos Angeles have decided to compile all their unreleased EPs onto a retro, yet of-the-moment 21-song cassette tape, Taking Out The Trash as their final parting shot (they disbanded this year). 'Beach Slalom' opens the thick onslaught of lo-fi surfer-rock tunes, followed closely by 'Days Of Youth' with its assured oohs and ahs and happy-go-lucky guitars. It's a strong start and adheres to the 'bedroom pop grunge lo-fi post-punk surf' that the boys have previously (and a little humorously) marketed themselves on.
The next ten minutes do not allow you to lose sight of these genres, so much so that the tracks merge into one another. 'Making Waves' plods in 4/4 like a tired indie filler, lacklustre lyrics grate rather than satiate, and 'Endelss Summer' makes of a double-mockery of its title. Perhaps it's the juxtaposition with the ferocious 'Beach Slalom' and 'Days Of Youth', but either way, it feels like you're looking up from the foot of the mountain.
You can wipe away the beads of sweat once you've pass the halfway mark where, at last, a good cluster of songs breathes life back into the record. 'Stone Washes' is a wonderful early noughties pop-punk with its jangling bass and classic three-chord guitar progression and 'Shallom Goy' boasts of a fresh identity with its battered vocals and anthemic punk-rock chorus. There's something all the more different in 'I Hate It When You Look At Me', which shuffles its shoegaze feet and lets guitars gnaw beneath an impossibly slow beat.
You're just about getting somewhere until a couple of dreary numbers ('Friendzoned', 'All I Do Is Dream') take pole position once more. But the Boscombe boys are clever and draw the compilation to its close with some stellar tracks in 'You're The One That I Want' and 'Pretend With You.'
'You're The One That I Want', unfortunately, isn't a Grease cover, but it is fortunately two minutes of scorching post-punk. 'Pretend With You' is where you can't help but scream "more of this" into your speakers, with its stunning guitar stumbling over calypso drums and ghoulish vocals. Seriously, more of this please.
In all its giant, aggregated glory, Taking Out The Trash is more of a curse than a blessing. Chop it up into bits and it's perfect for easy listening, but swallow it whole and you'll choke before you reach the end. There are some great tracks hidden in its spools – you'll just have to play cassette roulette to find them.