Since Boy Kill Boy were last around, there’s been plenty more doppelgangers to fill their place as ‘any of many bands predictably loved by the Topshop teens and mostly despised by the critics’ (see The Wombats, The View, The Pigeon Detectives). But alas, Chris Peck et al couldn’t care less and have made it to album number two with the help of Dave Sardy (Oasis, RHCP) and more of the same large-scale disposable ‘indie’ fare which for some unknown reason manages this time to possess that bit more than the over-produced approbation of the 80s present throughout first album, ‘Civilian’. Instead this time, they’ve gotten a bit more current and have presumably spent hours studying the dubious back catalogues of Hot Hot Heat.
That strange feeling of familiarity on the first album playback is as disconcerting as it is predictable, because it’s so difficult to tell whether ‘No Conversation’ is flipping fantastic, or rather an amalgamation of everything from the archives that’s come before it. That divisive notion is certainly a step in the right direction, because after all it means that for once, BKB are eliciting a reaction – but by the time the eleventh track’s been listened to for the eleventh time, it unfortunately becomes clear that the tracks are indistinct from each other despite representing an unexpected leap in substance.
Sure, there’s bands that do it with more complexity, but Boy Kill Boy certainly issue their brand of well-structured, heavily textured snippets with maximum panache. Each track has its less punctuated moments which strive towards something akin to the Paul Epworth crescendo originated way back in 2005, but it’s all too predictable on tracks like ‘Loud and Clear’ and ‘A Ok’. ‘Paris’ sees BKB return to the unenviable position of Killers aficionados, as the album rapidly rolls down the cliff. Attempts at a ballad on ‘Kidda Kidda’ provide the worst song yet, finally dispelling the notion that the band have even slightly reinvented themselves.
A small plea: please don’t love it. The radio doesn’t require more suspensions shoved down its throat, let alone vibrato on cue. Apart, perhaps, from ‘Promises’ – the one good track on 'Stars and the Sea'. Ssh though, don’t tell anyone you like it.