Left to right: Kyle, Jon-Paul, Scab and Mark.
The Boys of Summer are Kyle Mueller on drums, Mark Warren on bass, and Jon-Paul Bakaric and Scab on the guitar and vocals. The Detroit, Michigan, band are making a big splash today, releasing What's It All About today. They are billed as a pop/rock band, but it seems to me they have a healthy dose of punk in them, and at times remind me of Green Day without the existential angst. Sure, there is the energy and, at times, the anger I associate with the punk movement, more reminiscent of young UK punk bands like the Buzzcocks or The Jam, with themes more rooted in youthful issues rather than the rather than the doomed side of civilization.
The album opens with Things in Twos, which reminds me of Jimmy Eat World with a harder edge. This is it really has the rhythms of some of that early punk/pop, like the Buzzcocks True Confessions. You can hear it here.
Love Is Like An Arms Race moves away from the punk and drifts more to the rock, taking an stadium sound, continuing an ongoing discussion of love, both real and unrequited. Is She Fiction continues that trend, with a cool sound that is unlike any of the others so far. Night Light steps up next, with an interesting feel, as if Billie Joe Armstrong started singing some early U2 covers with the Edge in two.
My Best Interest returns to the Punk/Pop sound, with bold drums and vocals, very earthy in the delivery. Map And Magnets opens with a 50s doo wop, but moves back to rock to discuss the relative merits of attraction. Soon they take A Long Road Home, sounding more like an American Big Country, with that layered and texture use of beats and movement. Gun Shy is not about gun control, and I Don't Belong keeps the rock=based theme of alienation going strong. The title song asks questions about life and love, and one of my favorites, 85 Insignificant Heartbeats ruminates on life, death and living in the moment.
Mueller's drumming is first rate, often driving the song to another plane. Warren backs up the rhythm with a deft hand, and Scab and Bakaric share the vocal and guitar duties with a sweet balance. You can buy What It's All About on iTunes for just $7.99, an introductory offer for a new artist. The 12-song offering is certainly worth it. Click here to check them out.