Band: The Birthday Boys
Album: Bad Blood
Label: Independent Release
Rating: 4 out of 5
by Aaron Binder
Up and coming is a term used all too often. We’ve all seen the Myspace pages of far too many local metal bands that read something like the following.
“In 2007, Thunderblast Dragonscale experienced their biggest accomplishment to date, when they shared the stage with Glenn Danzig who went on to describe them as ‘tolerable for as long as you can stay out of the room.’. Coming from a metal God that once played in the greatest band ever, that is one of the best compliments Thunderblast has received. One day they hope to have Danzig open for them. This up and coming band has no limits on their brutal metal. COME TO THE SHOW FRIDAY, 7$, AT UNDERGROUND ENVY!!!!!!”
It has become a washed-out term, like ‘best-of’. It is for this reason alone that using ‘up and coming’ in reference to Birthday Boys first major offering Bad Blood would be a travesty. That doesn’t mean other terms don’t fit, though. For example; “better than Jesus’ greatest miracle”, “every other band from Burlington might as well quit now” and “more satisfying than waking up beside two beautiful women (or men)” work equally well to describe the depth, emotion, and sheer solidity of this album.
Birthday Boys has been pumping out a melodramatic sounding blend of Brit-influenced rock for a few years now, but really have come into something they can call their own with Bad Blood. They have created such a refined sound with their first full-length debut that you would think them to be experienced veterans; their ability to bend genres to their will is nothing short of admirable. The album starts off without really telling the listener where it is going to travel, and for the Birthday Boys, that really works to their advantage. With so many unique songs on the album, it takes a few listens to interpret properly how much ground they actually cover.
From more upbeat songs like “Vigorous Friction” (a definite must-listen) and “The Drug”; they enter territory that fans of Queens of The Stone Age, The Black Halos, and The Hives will really enjoy. From there they take it down a notch with the ballad-esque “The Machine”. Punctuated with piano, top-notch, wind-up style progression and haunting backup vocals, they define what a good ballad should be.
Local bands should take note, the best way to prove your mettle isn’t to brag about playing with Danzig (really, who hasn’t?) but by focusing on songwriting, broadening your sound, and making it sound bigger than turning water into wine. Birthday Boys have put out an album worthy of those ominous ‘best-of’ lists, and once they start showing up on those lists, this up and coming band will undoubtedly sweep them clean.