Monday, March 29, 2010

Strange Boys: Be Brave

The second Strange Boys album takes a while longer than the first, but it is definitely a grower. Be Brave is no where near the barn burner that And Girls Club was, but its not trying to be. Instead of relying on lively garage rock, the band debuts a drifting folk sound that leans heavily on harmonica, organs, piano, and "vocals that suggest a young Bob Dylan had he spent more of his formative years in juvie halls than coffeehouses."

There is still a lingering taste of Nuggets-era pop, "Night Might" in particular, but the overall vibe is more rootsy than before. It might not always work, as the acoustic numbers including "Laugh at Sex, Not at Her" don't quite hit the mark, but at least the Strange Boys are brave enough to give it a shot. And when it works, it works really well. There are five or six really good songs here, and they've beaten plenty of other garage rockers to the punch by pushing things in a new direction.
The album is out now via In the Red and Rough Trade Records. The Strange Boys are currently on tour with Deerhunter and Spoon. They play Austin again on April 5 at Emo's with King Khan & the Shrines and The Fresh and Onlys. SPIN Magazine editor William Goodwin picked the Strange as one of the best sets of SXSW, and URB, Straight, Altsounds, and The A.V. Club also have nice things to say.