Uh oh, I can already see the feud breaking out. It’s bound to be reported in NME at some point or another, that Boy Kill Boy and Rock Kills Kid have become bitter enemies. As far as I know, right now, they’re not. It may even be more likely that they become enemies with Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, as he seems to be the instigator of most of these silly things, though his band was the first of the three to use `kill,’ yet it’s more than likely that people are going to get the other two confused. Not only are their names so darn close, but their music isn’t drastically different than each other’s. Borrowing liberally from bands of the ’80s while injecting a modern post-emo angst into its otherwise synth-pop heavy veneer, Boy Kill Boy are primped and primed for the MySpace generation.
One thing that Boy Kill Boy has going for them is that, being British, their accents are genuine, unlike the forced affectations of so many American nü-wavers. Yet their catchy, polished retro post-punk sound, as pleasant as it is, offers little in the way that distinguishes them from their peers. They’ve already been likened to a danceable cross between the Smiths and Hard-Fi. But the inherent problem with such a comparison is that one of the two bands holds an impossibly high standard to live up to, while the other band, from the get-go, is little more than a pale, soulless re-hash. It would be unfair to hold this against the band, as they weren’t the ones who said it.
There are certainly good songs on Civilian, the band’s debut, and they’re not a hard band to like. Songs like “Suzie,” “Six Minutes” and “On My Own” offer infectious, hands in the air pop majesty, closer to Franz Ferdinand or Duran Duran than The Smiths, though much less seasoned for discotheque banging. These are better off tunes for blasting in a convertible in the summertime and skipping school, rather than for play in any trendy loft party.
What ultimately is Boy Kill Boy’s downfall is that, while they’re an easy band to like, they’re a hard band to love. They play competent, catchy pop, but deliver very little in the way of truly memorable songs or dynamic, challenging material. Perhaps they just came around at the wrong time, but after hearing so many bands that borrow from The Smiths or Duran Duran, I think I’d rather just listen to those two bands instead.
Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV
Stellastarr* – stellastarr*
Razorlight – Up All Night
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.