“You can play a song with the windows down driving around town with your friends, or when [you’re] having a bad day just sitting in your room.”
The Boys of Summer, a four-piece merry band of best friends from Detroit, make music that makes people feel good. That quote above, taken from the band’s MySpace bio, explains What It’s All About in one single sentence. Now you might be wondering, “If that quote describes the album, then why should I read this album review?” I’m going to expand on the flawed-but-still-great music that Scab (guitar/vocals), Jon-Paul Bakaric (guitar/vocals), Mark Warren (bass), and Kyle Mueller (drums) have created.
Overall, What It’s All About is an album with quality production and some seriously danceable tracks. If you liked Blink-182, Angels and Airwaves, or even Boy Hits Car, you’ll immediately recognize the Tom DeLonge-like vocals when you hit “Things In Twos.” Unfortunately that track, “This Is It” and “Night Light” really seemed like filler to me. “This Is It” feels more Cobra Starship than The Boys of Summer, and “Night Light” is a track that I would expect to see on an EP or Demo, not on a debut full-length. None of the three tracks really have much substance. I wouldn’t recommend them.
Enough of the negativity! “Love like an Arms Race” and “Is She Fiction” redeem the first half of this album. Both tracks feel like great summer music, or perfect music for a long drive. Some of the transient, points in “Is She Fiction” reminded me of Shiny Toy Guns. What It’s All About really picks up steam after “My Best Interest,” which is less effect dependent and more of a departure vocally than the previous tracks.
“Maps and Magnets” is the beginning of a string of great tracks that carry through to the album’s conclusion. It’s a little less dance and a little more pop, but still danceable. The differences in this track from any other on the album really make it stand out. “A Long Road Home” takes us back to the summer driving music that seems to be this band’s bread and butter. “Gun Shy,” “I Don’t Belong,” and the title track “What It’s All About” are really where the album peaks. “85 Insignificant Heartbreaks” takes the album out in style. At first listen, the track doesn’t seem like it quite fits. I kept listening, and I began to hear the Tom DeLonge-like vocals and Angels and Airwaves-like ending that will make fans of A&A, Blink-182, or even Jimmy Eat World fall all over this band.
The Boys of Summer might be the band that reminds you of other bands, but who ever said that was a bad thing? Okay, a lot of people have. I’m a firm believer that if you can do what you do and do it well, then you deserve credit for it. What It’s All About, while it does have its flaws, is a very well produced and well executed collection of music. It’s for that reason that I highly recommend this album to fans of, well, dancing.
Release Date: June 15, 2010
Label: Authentik Artists
Recommended Tracks: Love Like An Arms Race//Is She Fiction//Maps and Magnets//A Long Road Home//Gun Shy//I Don’t Belong//What It’s All About//85 Insignificant Heartbreaks
For Fans of: Angels & Airwaves, Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World