Album review: Boy Harsher – Careful

Boy Harsher - Careful album cover

Careful, the sophomore album from Massachsetts duo Boy Harsher, is full of ominous, brooding electro pop that plays heavily on 80s infuences – to great effect.

The relentless single tone synth bass that pervades across this album reeks of 80s sci-fi horror movies and anyone who’s been enjoying Stranger Things will find the musical style appearing here instantly recognisable.

The vocals of Jae Matthews provide and ethereal backdrop to the sense of foreboding delivered by Augustus Muller’s keyboards. Some tracks are all about creating a sense of dystopia, such as opener Keep Driving, Crush and Careful, which could easily have come from the mind of David Lynch.

However the album has pop firmly at its heart, with tracks such as Face the Fire, Tears, and LA drawing on influences such as early Depeche Mode and even the Pet Shop Boys.

Closer was a strong contender for my album of the week, but what probably took it out of the running was that, while hugely enjoyable, as you delve deeper into the album all the tracks start to blend into one. Bar the occasional trip into weirdness, most of the tracks are relatively interchangeable.

This album will be one that would work well when added to a shuffled playlist. It’s great to hear one of the tracks pop up when you’re not expecting it, but playing through the whole album can start to feel like a bit of a chore.

Release date: 01 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Come Closer

For fans of:

  • The Soft Moon
  • Sisters of Mercy
  • Sink Ya Teeth

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2018 Music Review – February

February was a reasonably quiet month in terms of ear-grabbing releases, but there were still a few stand out moments to be had.

Take for instance the electronica-laced jazz musings of Manchester trio GoGo Penguin on A Humdrum Star. I’ve never really been one to listen to Jazz, and still can’t really stand the more trad stuff, but when fused with something that can provide a real soul, like this album does, it takes it to another level.

Elsewhere there’s the desolate, haunting beauty of Efrim Manuel Menuck on Pissing Stars. Like Thom Yorke when he’s feeling particularly depressed. Not really selling that am I, but it’s worth a listen.

If you fancy a bit of Nine Inch Nails crossed with the Sisters of Mercy then Criminal by The Soft Moon might be for you. Or if you prefer a some light-hearted punk then The Lovely Eggs may brighten your day.

However it was the bands keeping the indie/alt rock flame alive that did it for me in Feb. In particular Sub Pop’s Moaning brightened my day with its warmly familiar distorted guitar hooks, while South London’s Phobophobes pulled it out of the bag with some terrific psyche-indie fronted by Nick Cave sound-a-like Jamie Taylor.

Top 10 February 2018

1: Phobophobes – Minature World

Standout track: Where is my owner?

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2: Moaning – Moaning

Standout track: Artificial

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3: Hookworms – Microshift

Standout track: Negative Scanner

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4: Fever Ray – Plunge

Standout track: To the Moon and Back

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5: The Soft Moon – Criminal

Standout track: Like a Father

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6: The Lovely Eggs – This is Eggland

Standout track: Wiggy Giggy

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7: GoGo Penguin – A Humdrum Star

Standout track: Bardo

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8: Efrim Manuel Menuck – Pissing Stars

Standout track: The State and Its Love and Genocide

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9: Turnstile – Time and Space

Standout track: Real Thing

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10: Loma – Loma

Standout track: Black Willow

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