This is a recognizable Bloated Kat release upon first listen. Intentionally progressive, the label prioritizes female and/or queer musicians at the front of their acts, and also promotes flyover country punks not hailing from the coastal behemoths of Los Angeles or New York. Bloated Kat has a tightly honed brand, and Boys are right on it, but pleasantly so. Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Boys serves up guitar-propelled bubblegum pop punk along the lines of labelmates Lipstick Homicide and Jabber. None of these bands exist to make groundbreaking, innovative records, but they’re all tireless ambassadors for the art of making one’s own fun. Maura Weaver of the now-defunct Mixtapes contributes strong, sweet vocals with a ‘90s alternative pop edge, displaying a slight homage to Liz Phair or even Alanis. Relatable lyrics speak of suburban disillusionment with the predictability of daily life and the awkwardness of forging relationships. “Long Walk” is my favorite track, as the heaviest and most vulnerable, with a moody, contemplative slowdown that sweeps in at the minute-thirty mark. The production is DIY-rough, in a warm living room way. In “Sundae Skool” I hear a nod to Bratmobile and similar pop-driven riot grrrl, but also a slide into hardcore with a no-holds-barred acceleration at the end. It’s easy to know what to expect from Bloated Kat—and therefore from Boys—but that also guarantees quality music that facilitates a good time.
–Claire Palermo (Bloated Kat)