Bobbyisms

Music discovery & recommendation since 2009; print edition published weekly in Interrobang at Fanshawe College.

Everyone says yes to Boys Who Say No.

Bobbyisms #73
Monday, February 20, 2012 

I write about random things a lot. I write a lot about random things. For example, did you know that Brian May of Queen preferred one guitar over most all others during his career with Queen? It’s called “Red Special” and you can see it aging in photos of the band as their career wound unfortunately down. Oh, and he built it with his father, partly from wood from a fireplace.

Where May locked down his signature sound, Toronto’s Boys Who Say No are carving a different path for themselves. Their debut full–length album, Contingencies, released on February 21, is as diverse as it is enjoyable.

In fact, Contingencies is so diverse in terms of music and substance that it will surely give writers and bloggers a hard time categorizing the band and their catalogue. To record it, the band shut themselves in a farm house up north with only an engineer to run the process for a month.

"It was a long project, it took us just over a year from when we began." explained frontman Luke Correia–Damude, describing the process of putting the album together independently and wanting to mix the album but not liking the result. And when the result is an album as strong, confident and bombastic as Contingencies, not liking the result of the mix is a big problem.

However much hard work it took to produce, Contingencies also glows with the vibe of a group of individuals having fun crafting music and pushing themselves creatively without overreaching their goals.

Songs like “56K” and “Small Town Girl” have immediate dance appeal, while “You Used To Get Along” — and especially its gorgeous reprisal in the final “Untitled” track — are substantial and meaningful. The band, rounded out by Frank Cox–O’Connell, Mike Lobel and Antonio Naranjo, are obviously unafraid to tread in more personal waters and reveal glimpses of their histories, together and apart.

"We write fairly collaboratively, and this album is an expression of that collaboration," Correia–Damude agreed. "When we’re writing, we try not to go anywhere but where the song is going. Some people criticize us for that, but we don’t try to steer the ship in any given direction. It really depends on what is in the room at the time."

"When we started, we also were consciously not ashamed of writing pop music. In modern music, you can sometimes be afraid to write a catchy hook, because it’s not cool to do so, but we’re a product of Spacehog, Pulp, Blur and that generation of music, we like good pop music."

With the album’s release, Correia–Damude expressed great relief. Having to deal with all the little things along the process of crafting an album is a lot more difficult than many people realize, he said.

"It’s really surreal, because we’ve held it so close to our chests for so long," he reflected. "It can be a lot of stress to do this sort of thing independently, it’s sometimes hard to remember that it’s going to be fortuitous, that it’s going to lead to more."

"I’m really glad that it’s going to go out to other people and not just be on our iPods anymore," he added, laughing. "It’s like your kid graduating."

Contingencies is available in physical and digital formats beginning on February 21, with the possibility of a vinyl pressing down the road. For more on Boys Who Say No and their debut full-length, visit them online at boyswhosayno.com or follow them on Twitter @boyswhosayno.

And for more of the latest music news, reviews and streams, consider following this column on Twitter @fsu_bobbyisms or via Tumblr at bobbyisms.com. Hope you have a great Spring Break! I’m out of words.

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