Sound — 6
There is a menacing affliction from which many bands suffer, and its effects can be devastating to the ear. The issue at hand? Monotony -- choruses and verses that become so tiresome that the music becomes downright painful. On Boy Kill Boy's latest CD Civilian, almost every song is tainted by repetitiveness, which slowly but surely grates on a listener's ears. There are just so many times you can hear the same lyrical line repeated until you just have to turn the CD player off. The unfortunate thing is that there are inspired keyboard parts throughout much of Civilian, but the instrumental creativity is quickly overshadowed by seemingly never-ending choruses. England's Boy Kill Boy (vocalist/guitarist Chris Peck, bassist Kev Chase, drummer Shaz Mahmood, and keyboardist Pete Carr) has recorded some songs on the latest album that don't use the same line ten to twenty times in a row (slight exaggeration, but not by that much), but even these tracks can't really salvage the album. Keyboardist Clark's work is hands-down the best part of Civilian. He is able to catch your attention right from the start of songs like Killer, which features a computer-like keyboard effect that is definitely a distinctive intro. Clark's ability to create inspired, unique keyboard parts almost keep the band's songs afloat when the lyrics keep rearing their ugly head. Backed by a solid rhythm section, the musical arrangement is a refreshing aspect in an album that does not deviate from a set formula. Vocalist Peck should be given credit for his pleasing vocal style, which features a defined vibrato and a wide range. On the opening track Back Again, Peck is at his best with a passionate, emotional delivery. But as the record goes forward, his strong vocals are used primarily for repeating line after line in the same fashion. Even the best vocalist can become tiresome when you're forced to hear him sing the same line over and over again -- and the album's monotony is just too distracting to appreciate any talent that might seep out.
Lyrics — 5
Boy Kill Boy seems to be fond of repeating lyrics. Having a few songs that follow this trend might be acceptable, but it is sheer overkill on Civilian. From the very start of Six Minutes, listeners are immediately hit with a barrage of monotonous lyrics. Pecks sings, Six weeks on the way; So get up and get up and get up and get up and get up and get up and get up... It goes on a bit more from there if you have the courage to withstand it. With the track On And On, the lyrics absolutely do go on and on and on. Peck sings, Closer than you ever knew; on and on and on and on; Closer than you ever wanted; on and on and on and on. Perhaps the band's fans won't mind this lyrical style, but writing songs in this fashion just does not leave a positive impression. The repeating words become way too distracting, taking away from any of the creative aspects that a track might possess.
Overall Impression — 6
The band is not devoid of talent, and some listeners might like the simple, catchy tunes that often feel a bit like they're straight from the '80s New Wave genre. When you hear the opening track Back Again, you're likely to be struck with this impression. With Peck's vocals, which have a smooth quality a la Morrissey at times, this retro quality would have been a fun trip. Unfortunately, the band becomes it's own worst enemy by refusing to let up on the same formula in most every song. If the band can branch out lyrically and create more distinction between each line sung, it has a great chance of offering some enjoyable songs. But for right now, Boy Kill Boy's latest CD does not cast the band in a good light. The band's members do show they have a good handle on their instruments, so let's hope that they will venture out more into the lyrical world next time around.