For crying out loud in the night, how has no other band named themselves Boys? Sure, we had the R&B outfit The Boys back in the '80s, but Boys has been squarely in our sights since grade school. Right next to Girls, in fact. The name obviously implies youthfulness and an abiding innocence combined with a measure of tomfoolery. A rhetorical trap might lead this writer to compare their fuzz rock sound similarly: youthful, innocent, carefree. That would be lazy and, more importantly, untrue. Although the men of Boys range in age from 21 to 23 years, they sound as if they have been doing this for years. That's because they have. Maybe not this exactly, but playing music anyway.
It recently occurred to them that each of the members has been playing music for around 10 years, whether it be strumming a guitar alone in a room or rocking Chicago numbers in the high school pep band. They joined forces the way many bands do in the 21st century, via Craigslist and the food service industry. "I sold Kale [Huseby] a guitar on Craigslist; two weeks later we're playing a show," drummer Justin Haider says. "Then we're in a band together for two years." After that band dissolved, bassist Rob Cave joined the duo by happenstance as well. "I went into Justin's work to apply for a job and he asked me if I was playing with anyone," bassist Rob Cave says.
"I recognized the mustache," says Haider. "Mustache Rob."
(It should be noted that Cave has Missoula's finest mustache. One that will cause you to slow down and look at it if you happen to drive past him, and one that you will likely mention to a co-worker later in the day.)
The band played their first show a few weeks later. What they do could be called garage rock. Haider suggests a few variations on that notion: "Girl garage rock, girl fuzz, girl blues." Their sound is a by-product of Missoula's current music scene, both the local acts and the national acts that seem to be stopping here with more frequency.
"We saw Naomi Punk and we wrote a song in response to that," says vocalist and chief songwriter Huseby. "We saw Ty Segall and we wrote a song in response to that, too." These influences are readily heard on their demo tracks. Moody fuzzed-out guitars and deceptively simple arrangements sound as if they were pulled from an AM radio during a late night try at coitus.
Huseby's vocals are imbued with the scratchy, thin and distorted tone that much of the garage genre favors, but his true voice still comes through. He delivers his lyrics with the confidence of early Jagger on "Electric Chair Blues," but there's also a subtle hiccup in his stylea hiccup that is almost country-like in the way he swallows some of his syllables. While "Blues" and "Now a Raid of Sea People" share a similar spooky sound, one that would sit well in a picnic scene of a David Lynch film, the band isn't all blues and melancholia. "Parapets" has plenty of "la-duh-duh-dahs" and ends quickly like the other tracks, leaving the listener la-duh-duh-dahing all to himself.
On June 27, Boys is self-releasing nine songs on an album called Shy Shirely, which was recorded with Dead Hipster's Chris Baumann at Black National Recording Studios, in Missoula. Haider says that all the tunes could fit on a 7-inch record, though they'll be released on CDs and tapes. The brevity of the tracks in concert with layers of hooks create a craving for more. The band hopes to cultivate that craving-for-more as it embarks on a tour that will take them to the great Northwest, as well as to not-so-great places like Idaho Falls, Idaho. With the tour on the horizon and mentions of the band on blogs from the UK to Brooklynsuch as Dingus and Just Like Honeythe musicians of Boys seem unequivocally positive.
"It's inspirational to play for people who want to watch and listen to live music," Haider says, "not watch someone with a laptop."
The Boys play an album release and tour kickoff show Wed., June 27, at 9 PM at the VFW, 245 W. Main St. Free.