If nothing else, it's the mark of a band finally ready for the big time.
Al Fox 2008
Throughout Stars And The Sea, the second album from ever-ascending East London four-piece Boy Kill Boy, you'll be forgiven for scratching your head once or twice. It's safe to assume a sizeable chunk of listening time will be appointed to pondering where you might already know a number of tracks from. Did you hear Rosie's On Fire in a club somewhere? Is Loud & Clear a cover?
It's difficult to pinpoint a single track on Stars And The Sea that doesn't carry a certain familiarity. Not that this implies a lack of originality – rather, the proficiency to craft a killer ohrwurm. Meaty, potent hooks dominate this album, demonstrating that Boy Kill Boy have a collective ear for an almighty melody.
It's a somewhat shinier, less jagged affair than Civilian, though the album does gather a degree of pleasing spikiness as it progresses. Not that they're taking a Funeral For A Friend approach to proceedings and going as far as crafting albums for the Mother's Day 2009 market, but Stars And The Sea conveys a particular roundness not previously adopted.
As an album, it feels noticeably more thought-out than their preceding material, but crucially, not over-polished. Evidently, a wealth of newly-acquired experience has been liberally poured into the record, and it pays off significantly, making for a hugely agreeable – yet still gritty and inventive – sound.
If Civilian was the launchpad to turn the heads of an appropriate few, then Stars & The Sea is the tool to thrust them onto many an MP3 player. Of course, it's unfeasible that such a contrived strategy had any part here, given the earnestness and the command of the music itself. If nothing else, it's the mark of a band finally ready for the big time.