Civilian

Studio Album by released in 2006

Civilian review

After listening to just one of Boy Kill Boy’s songs you're hooked

Civilian is the debut album from British four-piece indie rock outfit Boy Kill Boy. It is the immaculately coiffured and stylish band with the plan to get you on the dancefloor and nail your feet there. They're not really going to nail your feet – that would prevent you dancing. The album is a mix of punky pop, soaring rock anthems and piano led ballads. Occasionally, increasingly rarely so these days, a new band comes along who have no need for incredulous hype or even a pretentious new scene to cling on to. Boy Kill Boy are one such act, after listening to just one of their songs you're hooked. Chris Peck (vocals/guitar), Shaz (drums), Pete Carr (keyboards), and Kevin Chase (bass/vocals) comprise the bright indie rock sounds of Boy Kill Boy. Founded in 2004, the English four-piece delivers an energetic, brash pop performance not unlike the Kaiser Chiefs and the Rakes. Like all decent British bands of recent years the quartet began life on tiny London label before making the leap to major, and they sound custom built for commercial success. That's not to say they don't rock, far from it. Producer John Cornfield (Muse, Oasis, Supergrass) has captured the band's raw live power while retaining a killer pop touch that sounds great on the radio.

Punchy vocal swipes and racing guitars

Past single Back Again opens this debut album of thrusting, ebb and flow indie riffs that toss and turn betwixt the raw nature of The Strokes and the rhythm of Supergrass, creating a pathway for the strutting vocals of Chris Peck. The haughtily cock-sure On And On is the most pounding offering, utilizing punchy vocal swipes and racing guitars to create a driving feel that helps to get the album motoring. Then there's the driving Suzie, which sounds like a song you've known you're entire life, that's how incredibly immediate and satisfying it is on your lugholes. However, the band are equally adept at producing piano led ballads and it's this lightness of touch, patently missing from the rest of the garage rock scene we're stuck in, which makes Boy Kills Boy so special. Ivy Parker is the band's best effort at a slow burning love-out. It is not long before Boy Kill Boy return to form and the title track contains some pungent grit that lies underneath the prowling singing and bolstering guitars and keyboard element, while feeding from a brazen percussive trough. Friday-Friday, a tale of small-town violence, has the most noticeable keyboard kick and is a provocative poser of a modern indie tune.

Boy Kill Boy opted for an earnest reappraisal of the Eighties synth'n'angst scene

Civilian is a curious piece of work, to say the least. Whereas the trend for young men in bands is towards a playful reinvention of rock's past, these four young chaps from Leytonstone have opted for an earnest reappraisal of the Eighties synth'n'angst scene. A few listens reveal bits and pieces reminiscent of Depeche Mode and Faith No More, with a bubbling undercurrent of early Simple Minds. Call the record what you like – epic, ravenous, doomy, electrified, billowing, bilious, brilliant – what leaps out at you from the outset is just how brazenly alive it is. Whelps and cries, guitars and drums, some keyboards alongside a pop and New Wave back catalogue all appear to have gone into the making of Boy Kill Boy. The result, Civilian has elements of all of those things – quite often they are all there at once. The vocals have a bright and smiling sneer and the high tones of the very Eighties keyboards lift the tracks effectively. There are guitars aplenty giving a little pop punk edginess to the proceedings. For all its grandiosity, this kind of defiance, confidence, preen and pomp doesn’t come from a pampered middle class semi-mansion background in Buckinghamshire. No, this sort of thunderous self-belief, like the best art throughout history, is spawned from the deepest desperation. The best music, it’s said, is made by those who’ve seen the worst of life.