• Artist: BOY
  • Album: Mutual Friends
  • Country of Origin: Germany/Switzerland
  • Originally Released: Autumn 2011 by Grönland Records
  • Genre: Pop/Alternative
  • Available on: Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Pandora
  • Recommendation by: George Harrison

From their humble beginnings playing concerts exclusively to their rather active and official-looking touring of the German speaking world, ‘Boy’, stylized ‘BOY’, have come a long way since meeting each other on a prestigious music course Hamburg ten years ago. As indicated by the cover of ‘Mutual Friends’, BOY is in fact made up two girls: Valeska Steiner, a singer by trade from Zürich, Switzerland and Sonja Glass, who grew up playing cello and played bass for several other pop bands before project BOY. Oh, and Steiner writes everything in English, making it rather accessible to us.

What sharpens their music into something that lets you know it is in fact BOY and not other projects with similar vocals like Feist or Steffany Grettzinger, is its clear sense of charisma and optimism. Despite often being thoughtful, you find yourself tapping your feet, maybe clapping your hands, but almost certainly smiling along to the ‘Mutual Friends’ chirp. It’s contemporary pop at its best, with little room for noise, undeveloped ideas about love or the usual nonsense about munching away on each other’s privates. It’s clearly autobiographical, something which BOY have admitted, yet never simplifying it to just a ‘journey’. Rather, each song is a snippet of life; the album’s themes vary.

“This is the Beginning” is a wonderful intro track, designed to get us interested. “Waitress” tells us the story of someone in between, the typical student or artist waitress, waiting for their life to begin, waiting for something better to come. It’s a sad exception to the album’s mood, though one many young people can relate to. “Army” shows us aptly the aforementioned thoughtfulness which ultimately ends with you feeling positive. The album’s closing track “July” is one of the strongest. A wise end to an album that explores so much, “July” brings you home, whilst showing you just how beautiful Steiner’s and Glass’s voices harmonise together.

Like so many, I was drawn into listening to BOY by the irresistible single “Little Numbers”, an intriguing song, that explores the feelings of falling in love, but musically composed with such maturity so as to suggest reflection. The piano is perhaps most effectively used, slow enough yet jumpy to represent the beating of a heart. One is swept up in the chorus, with the piano providing an ever so slight melancholic undertone. For me this represents the euphoria of infatuation, both wonderful and a little painful at the same time. That said, the strongest track leaves you only with the desire to smile.

‘Mutual Friends’ is a joy to listen to and while it is not groundbreaking, the accessibility of it and maturity of its musicality, namely its subtle experimenting outside of conventional standards, make this a pop album that will stick it’s thoughtfully written, yet lively hooks in your head for days on end.  

Key Songs: Army, Little Numbers, Drive Darling, July