Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Listen: Boio - "Ball"

Photo by Jonah Rosenberg
My introduction to Brooklyn based experimental pop duo Boio happened, very much like Boon, in two parts. Firstly through our two bands being booked to play together. I was taken by their brand of energetic, infectious songs but there was very little in terms of consumable output post-show, an EP with four songs and outtakes entitled Sleep appearing and subsequently disappearing from the band's personal Bandcamp as they geared up for an actual release, and though I meant to keep up with the band, it wasn't until a year later that I saw them again.

Boio was already a strong project capable of delivering instantly catchy melodies but in the year since I've seen them, the band had made some changes namely in the presentation of those same songs that had won me over so easily. Already high energy, the duo somehow ramped even that up so that their live shows were something that had to be experienced to be truly understood. Finnegan Shanahan previously juggling guitar, violin, and viola, instead focused solely on guitar and the various sounds he could pull from it while Robby Bowen elevated his drum kit to a full on percussion laboratory with a number of different knick knacks and homemade tools providing a broader sonic palette to match Shanahan's array of sounds.

Last week, Boio released a new track "Ball", one that hints of a future album in the works and one of my person favorites to watch them perform live. Another one of their avant pop jams - it's an encapsulation of their experimentation, their pop sensibilities and their talent as musicians. "Ball" like much of Boio's oevre treats lyricism as both a jumping off point and a brush by which to paint their diverse aural tapestries and timbre exploration. It starts simple enough with effected guitar, chugging drums, and Bowen and Shanahan's mellifluous harmonies. It's a particularly scenic track that establishes the duo's hamonic language and textural interplay from the forefront and essentially sees how these two constants persist under duress even as Bowen and Shanahan are the cause and pursue it doggedly. The chorus "You drive the pool around the world" becomes an experience not wholly akin to semantic satiation but a phrase with no real meaning whose repetition imbues it with such. It persists through its various utterances and dynamic delivery - spoken, sung, shrieked, split up, and reconfigured, enjoying as rich of an exploration as Boio invest in its instrumental elements and insuring this particular ear worm burrows deep. But then "Ball" is such a delightful five minutes, listeners are sure to welcome its insistent catchiness.

Listen to "Ball":

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