Finding something to latch onto amid the tempting melange of the very technical and the very frenetic can be a chore for even the most enduring of listeners, as Boyfrndz’s All Day Pass proves. The Texas trio’s sophomore record is a challenging listen, much in the way of The Mars Volta or Hella, and finding the prize at the bottom of their disorderly cereal box may not be enough to snag some individuals.
But that’s okay.
In a day and age of appealing to the masses (or else), there’s something altogether encouraging about Boyfrndz’s strange brew. The unmelodious heap set in motion by Scott Martin (guitarist, vocalist), Joseph Raines (bassist, vocalist) and Aaron Perez (drummer, vocalist) is worth sifting through for fans of weightier, more cerebral fare.
While some bands occupying the right-angles of so-called math rock may have reduced the art of smashing shit up into equations, Boyfrndz walks the middle path with feet in both worlds. Theirs is an approach that calls to mind the precarious curves of Nothing’s Shocking-era Jane’s Addiction and the blurred feedback of Sonic Youth, as the pointed drumming edges to the theoretical sides of rock.
It is Boyfrndz’s jagged insistence on ticking the boxes that makes All Day Pass worth digging into. Whether through the bowling guitars of “New New” or the piqued, time-shifting “Colts,” the trio’s scope winds the dials and flips the switches throughout these sonic snippets.
And with all the technical drumming, garage punk bass-playing, coarse guitars, and wailing but lost vocals lurks a sense for tearing posters off walls and pissing off fathers. That sense, by the by, is best described as joy. Even through the moans of discordance, it’s apparent that Boyfrndz have discovered the joyful centre of what they do – and that goes a long way.
Through the complications and melodic trials lies the spirit of punk rock in math class. The feedback waves of “Moses Jones” and the subsequent tweaking embodies this, as Perez’s incredible drumming clears space. Those waves return and crash into the shore on the impeccable and chaotically gorgeous “Polite in Public.”
All Day Pass isn’t for everyone, thank goodness, but it is for those who’ve managed to take their love of technical skill to the garage only to have the neighbours complain and the amps blow out once more.