Tag: Boy Harsher (Page 2 of 2)

BOY HARSHER Live at London Heaven

Since their debut long player ‘Yr Body Is Nothing’ in 2016, Massachusetts duo BOY HARSHER have become an acclaimed cult proposition.

But having opened for THE SOFT MOON on their tour of 2018, their initial aloofness has mutated into the zest and ambition of the recently released ‘Careful’.

Possibly the first great album of 2019, it is a fine musical document confronting personal demons and traumas.

Beginning their London Heaven gig with foggy blocks of light, Jae Matthews on vocals and Augustus Muller on electronics built up the drama with the schizophrenic overtones of ‘A Realness’ from their debut. But getting the first big cheers of approval was ‘Fate’, its pulsing rhythmic mantra and eerie synthetic textures encouraging deviant dancing as Matthews’ expressed her shadowy discomfort.

‘Yr Body Is Nothing’ recalled the brooding drama of the same titled debut and was followed by the abstract hypno-drone of ‘Suitor’.

Drowned in shades of red, blues, yellows and greens, Muller stood mostly passively at the controls, banging the occasional drum pad while Matthews sang and shrieked with the air of a lower register Siouxsie Sioux gone darkwave.

‘Westerners’ offered some grainy orchestra stabs to the gothic disco motif, but things got more frantic with ‘Come Closer’, its threatening ADULT. backbone providing an unsettling slice of snuff movie HI-NRG!

Indeed, it was the new material from ‘Careful’ that stood out with its more focussed, less blurry vision as exemplified by the hypnotic industrial pop ‘Tears’, complete with a gloriously alluring delivery from Matthews.

Also from ‘Careful’, the brilliant sinister techno of ‘LA’ at times threatened to turn into DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Behind The Wheel’, although this was offset by Matthews’ mournful demeanour. However, show closer ‘Modulations’ probably attracted the biggest cheer of the evening from the raucous crowd, no doubt appreciating its synth-punk aesthetics.

Returning for an encore, ‘The Look You Gave (Jerry)’ summed up the substance in BOY HARSHER’s new music despite loosening their approach.

Yes, it is synthpop because it has a tune, even if it is dressed an appealingly unconventional and morose manner. The lightshow was particularly effective here with melodic green penetrating against the moody blue.

Closing with the claustrophobic ‘Pain’ from the interim ‘Lesser Man’ EP, with a bassline not that far off from a wholly electronic version of JOY DIVISION, Matthews masochistically petered on the edge of implosion exclaiming “I love pain” before departing the stage.

Sadly, ‘Face the Fire’ was not included in the set but with this performance, BOY HARSHER successfully refined their approach without losing any of their artistic edge. Both passionate and cerebral, it was wonderfully tense and exhilarating.


Special thanks to Kate Price at Stereo Sanctity

‘Careful’ by Nude Club Records in neon orange vinyl LP, CD, cassette and download formats, available from http://www.boyharsher.bandcamp.com

http://boyharsher.com

https://www.facebook.com/boyharsher

https://twitter.com/boyharsher

https://www.instagram.com/boyharsher

http://www.nudeclubrecords.com/


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
4th March 2019

BOY HARSHER Careful

BOY HARSHER formed through an urgent need to produce and consume, so by the winter of 2014, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller started to experiment with sound, video and text.

With just a few synths, a drum machine and a laptop, their second full length album ‘Careful’ was conceived in Massachusetts, with the duo utilising their minimal electronics and intense demeanour to create a compelling narrative of a deteriorating family and a need to escape from it, expressing an understanding of love and loss, fear and joy, tenderness and pain.

An introductory mood piece ‘Keep Driving’ opens ‘Careful’ with a building percussive mantra, but the stark drama of ‘Face The Fire’ is eerie and unsettling while also accessible, with driving drum machine rhythms and cosmic synth hooks all present and correct, despite Jae Matthews’ expressions of discomfort. Meanwhile, ‘Fate’ is a brilliant sister song to ‘Face The Fire’, coming over like ADULT. meeting THE KVB with hints of SAVAGES too.

‘LA’ features a wonderfully incongruous mix of icy string synths and orchestra stabs for an enticing display of mutant electronic disco, but brilliantly sinister thanks to its varied use of effects and Matthews’ mournful demeanour. Things get even more urgent and frantic with the pulsating ‘Come Closer’, its rhythmically threatening backbone and fraught tension providing an uneasy but thrilling listen!

What is captivating about ‘Careful’ is the fabulous range of synthetic sounds on display, as exemplified by ‘The Look You Gave (Jerry)’, a perfect number for those seeking substance craving a darker edge to their synthpop… and yes BOY HARSHER are pop because they do have tunes, even if they dress them up in an appealingly unconventional and morose manner.

‘Tears’ follows the pattern laid down of ‘Careful’, strangely chunky and danceable with Matthews all deviantly alluring, while the more abstract ‘Crush’ takes proceedings down in a suitably claustrophobic manner. A steadfast hypnotism appropriately directs ‘Lost’ towards the final straight before a short cerebral conceptual piece for the closing title track.

With ‘Careful’, BOY HARSHER have refined their template without losing any of their unsettling edge. This is the first really great album of 2019, with the six song sequence from ‘Face The Fire’ to ‘Tears’ particularly outstanding.

With that, the final third does suffer slightly in comparison but this does not detract from what an excellent work this is, a fine musical document confronting personal demons and traumas.


‘Careful’ is released on 1st February 2019 by Nude Club Records in neon orange vinyl LP, CD, cassette and download formats, pre-order from http://www.boyharsher.bandcamp.com

BOY HARSHER play the following UK dates:

Bristol Lanes (24th February), Leeds Wharf Chambers (25th February), Manchester Soup Kitchen (26th February), London Heaven (27th February)

http://boyharsher.com

https://www.facebook.com/boyharsher

https://twitter.com/boyharsher

https://www.instagram.com/boyharsher

http://nudeclubrecords.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Nedda Afsari
21st January 2019

BOY HARSHER Fate

Following up the moody cosmic synthpop of ‘Face The Fire’, Massachusetts duo BOY HARSHER have issued a second single ‘Fate’ from their forthcoming sophomore album ‘Careful’.

Coming over a bit like ADULT. meeting THE KVB, the pairing of Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller first started working together in 2014 through a need to produce and consume, experimenting with sound, video and text.

Their first full length album ‘Yr Body is Nothing’ came out in 2016 and featured the gloomy single ‘Last Days’. ‘Fate’ is comparatively brighter but no less introspective, with a spiky electronic hook and hypnotic staccato bass line laced with Matthews’ hazy nonchalant vocals and layers of disconcerting synthesizers.

“This song is about how there’s no amount of running that will prevent you from your life” the duo explain, “You are raw and beat-down, yet you will continue to behave the same way – Fate is your own trouble, a magnetic force that’s stuck on you forever.”

With suitably blood curdling horror video directed by Bryan M. Ferguson recalling the Scarlet Johansson art horror flick ‘Under The Skin’ but without the nudity, it too was also filmed in Glasgow, the city where you go out for a laugh but leave in stiches…

Out in February 2019 via their own Nude Club Records imprint, ‘Careful’ is said to see BOY HARSHER “use the medium of minimal electronics to create a compelling narrative of a deteriorating family and the reaction to run away from it”.

Embroiled in Matthews and Muller’s emotional surroundings and potentially self-destructive creative tension, it attempts “to detail the enveloping trauma of loss combined with the fantasy of escape”.


‘Fate’ is from upcoming album ‘Careful’ released on 1st February 2019 by Nude Club Records

BOY HARSHER play the following UK dates in 2019: Bristol Lanes (24th February), Leeds Wharf Chambers (25th February), Manchester Soup Kitchen (26th February), London Heaven (27th February)

http://boyharsher.com

https://www.facebook.com/boyharsher

https://twitter.com/boyharsher

https://www.instagram.com/boyharsher


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Nedda Afsari
24th December 2018

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