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BOY do not live up to their name as they are, actually, a duo made up of Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass. However, what they do do is write immediately catchy tunes, wistful songs in which you could breath in the fresh air of the Swiss Alps. In fact, Steiner hails from Switzerland while Glass is from Germany, though the two sing entirely in English.
Signed to English/German label Gronland Records (famous for their reissues of legends such as Neu! and Harmonia) in 2011, the duo released their debut album Mutual Friends in Germany in the same year where it is now a gold certified record. A slow burner, the album was eventually released in Britain in 2012, America in 2013, and went on to win numerous awards.
Now on their second American tour, their first with a full backing band, BOY came into the WERS studios to lay down three fantastic tracks. They opted for a stripped down set, just the two on acoustic guitars, and were accompanied by rhythm guitar player Dennis who is also part of the bigger backing band they have been utilizing for their headlining tour.
They started off with their biggest single, the near ubiquitous “Little Numbers.” WERS listeners should be familiar with this catchy song and its festival ready, anthemic chorus. While the song falls in line with the dramatic folk trend that is popular nowadays, Steiner and Glass infuse their own, unique take on the genre, giving the song a happy and light feeling. Feist comparisons are abundant, especially during the pre-chorus that goes “Seven little numbers baby, I know yours by heart.” The song’s normally joyous chorus is scaled back a bit and is more relaxed and welcoming in this setting.
“Drive Darling”, one of their 2012 singles off of their debut, was the next song they decided to play. A softer, picked intro gave way to a gentle, almost lullaby-esque vocal melody. The song is almost trance like in its beautiful repetition, a decidedly un-poppy moment that works due to the duo’s wonderful delivery.
They ended with the almost eponymous song, “Oh Boy.” The song’s soft strummed intro came with a quick melody going, “She turns every room into a dance floor, she turns and she sways and she sings,” with the warning that “she’ll never slow down for you.” The song had more of a narrative quality in the lyrics with a catchy chorus. The most curious and interesting part was the almost R&B inspired bridge that featured some “ooh”s that were reminiscent of the now well-known chorus of “Little Numbers.”
As previously mentioned, BOY’s first American tour was earlier this year and centered around SXSW. Now, the band are setting their sights on even bigger venues such as New York City’s Webster Hall and Hollywood’s Fonda Theater. Here in Boston, the band made their debut at Brighton Music Hall. As their biggest single, the aforementioned “Little Numbers,” continues to blow up and spread across American airwaves, perhaps they’ll make the leap to a bigger venue here in Boston too.