CD Review: Boys Like Girls serves up Coldplay/Firehouse omelet

Art can be inspired by countless emotions: envy, sorrow, joy, pain…the list is seemingly endless. But when it comes to popular rock and roll, many of the most important songs ever written aren’t about those emotions directly; they’re about one of their most famous causes—girls.

It’s only a little ironic, then, that one of the finer pop-rock records of the year comes from a young group of Boston upstarts called Boys Like Girls. Utilizing a standard approach of dual guitars, bass and drums, the four-piece gets the most out of their up-tempo, heartache-inspired rock through honest, though occasionally clichéd, lyrics and a consistent guitar sound.

Anthems like “The Great Escape,” “Five Minutes to Midnight,” and “On Top of the World” call to mind The Starting Line and are equipped with choruses that will be blaring from your iPod headphones for months. To put it in perspective, if The All-American Rejects sang these songs, Boys Like Girls’ self-titled debut would already be certified Platinum. AAR fans should be on notice—Boys Like Girls are first in line to be your next favorite band.

But an album all about the fairer sex wouldn’t be complete without a few ballads. “Thunder” is a gallant attempt at mid-’80s meets Simple Plan balladry, and “Me, You and My Medication” is a well-produced, slightly electronic ballad with a heavy, double-barreled guitar sound. If it were breakfast food, it would be a Coldplay and Firehouse omelet with a splash of hot sauce on top.

Don’t be fooled, though. While this is a solid debut from a band clearly in position to make some noise, it is not about to change the world, or even the face of popular music. But it is time-tested. It will almost certainly appeal to every junior high kid on the block, and it almost certainly will not offend your uptight in-laws. If nothing else, Boys Like Girls reminds us of one universal musical truth…it’s (almost) always all about a girl.

From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue

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