BOY - Mutual Friends

‘Mutual Friends’ is an album that just gets better and better with every listen.

Label: Decca

Rating: 8

I had the pleasure of stumbling across BOY playing live at their recent show at London’s Borderline. I learnt two things that night. Firstly, BOY have a lot of European fans. And I mean loads. Secondly - and probably more importantly - they are one heck of a live act. With two live drummers, their set was rhythmic and driving, but constantly held together by the effortless composure and elegance of Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass.

And, although the heavier aspects of their live show are nowhere to be seen, the controlled composure of Steiner and Glass is carried over onto their debut album. You only have to listen to the aptly-named opening track, ‘This Is The Beginning’, to see what lies in store; gentle, tender and restrained, it quickly sets the tone for the majority of the record. Later on, the likes of ‘Drive Darling’ and the more upbeat ‘Oh Boy’ are amongst the highlights of the album, along with the single ‘Little Numbers’, which is the most instant track on the album, despite possibly not being the strongest.

On the whole, ‘Mutual Friends’ is quite a light-hearted record - with the notable exception of ‘Boris’, which takes on a darker tone as it explores some more sinister themes. Each of the twelve songs on the record are perfectly crafted and executed with restraint and poise, while the warm timelessness of the songwriting makes it feel somewhat comforting and familiar. For the most part the production is fairly simple, with Steiner’s vocals giving the whole album it’s charm and personality - especially when complimented by Glass’ harmonies. However, when the occasional swell of strings does come through, such as on ‘Waltz For Pony’, or a warm blast of horns, as heard on the gorgeous final track ‘July’, it adds another dimension to the album.

‘Mutual Friends’ is an album that just gets better and better with every listen. Not only does it demonstrate Steiner and Glass’ intelligent songwriting, but it also manages to effortlessly win the heart of the listener as well. It might not be the most forward-thinking album you’ll ever hear, but this debut venture from BOY is still a record that’s all too easy to fall head over heels for.