The Boyfriends - I Love You/Remember
The problem with being the new Morrissey is that the old Morrissey has left a pretty high standard; and what with all the buzz and bluster surrounding the Boyfriends (through their acclaimed festival appearances and their contribution to the second Angular Records compilation), it's imperative they prove their worth. After all, the example of Gene has taught us one thing--you can be fey, you can be British, you can embrace despair and the humour therein, but it doesn't make you the Pope of Mope himself.
But that seems to be exactly the angle the Boyfriends are going for, and they do a decent job. Martin Wallace pulls off a croon that would wilt your gladioli, Richard Adderly has a knack with jangly guitar riffs, and the aesthetic is so perfect that you truly believe these charming men have pulled off a true coup…until you really notice the lyrics.
Debut single “I Love You” tips you off right from the title, far from being a wry observation on the elusive presence of amour it's a standard pledge of permanent devotion. “If I know love, then this is it,” Martin moans, “Cupid scored a direct hit.” A sad fate for a song that opens with such a thrashing guitar chord; no doubt about it, the Boyfriends have their instrumentation perfect-- a hint of Joy Divison, a pinch of Jesus and Mary Chain, and of course The Smiths themselves. It all sounds perfect, but phrases like “I'd do anything for you” are simply too simple, we've heard them said a hundred times (maybe less, maybe more).
B-side “Remember” fares much better, with a delicate dance riff, elegant and mournful--admit it, you melt when vocalist Martin Wallace strains his voice, describing a youth spent “making love in stolen cars.” He implores “Remember me when I am gone away”- sorry, Martin, you just haven't earned it yet, baby. But the Boyfriends have such potential that one day (should they shed some of their influences) they could be huge. With a little work on the lyrics and a few new ideas, the Boyfriends may just follow the same paths as their idols; but as that infamous poet so wrote, these things take time. Alright, enough Smiths comparisons-that joke isn't funny anymore.