NICE BOYS, THE: Self-titled: CD

I was playing review CDs in my car driving home from Madison one night, selecting them by blindly grabbing them off the passenger seat while in transit, thusly initially experiencing them quite without context. Therefore, having not read the various name-drops of Slade, Sweet, T. Rex, Gary Glitter, et al, on the back cover, i did not pick up on the fact that the band was attempting some manner of early ‘70s U.K. glam thing (plus unfortunate but understandable Heartbreakers contaminant) until the fifth track, a blatant (but effective) rip off of some Gary Glitter song or another (you know, the one with the drums?). I had initially considered “Teenage Nights” to be somewhat akin to what the Dictators might’ve sounded like were Adny exerting “Manifest Destiny” levels of control over “Go Girl Crazy,” and if the ‘Tators were able (and willing) to channel the spirit of the Raspberries at need (kind of like “Loyola,” i guess, except without a basketball team). In any event, once i got all oriented and what-not, and realized it was Terry Six from the Exploding Hearts doing some kinda glam-punk-pop-roll thing, my viewpoint became contaminated, and i spent the rest of the time thinking how records that are recorded on the cheap (a la the Exploding Hearts album) always hold out the promise of undiscovered truths to potentially be uncovered after multiple listenings–whereas records with a “good” production (such as this one) are likely to make a more immediate first impression, but rarely hold any significant manner of undiscovered thrills for the repeat user. I also thought a bit how “good” production often leads to lazy songwriting, like in “Johnny Guitar”–you can just sort of have these breaks where it’s just the drums playing that sorta “Pirate Love” beat ‘cause it’s produced well and sounds cool, but, if you’re recording at a “Modern Kicks” level, you can’t get away with eight or sixteen measures of drums ‘cause the drums won’t keep anybody’s attention recorded like that. I also thought about how the intro licks to “Teenage Nights” can be seen as an emulation of either “Wig Wam Bam” by Sweet or “Talk Dirty To Me” by Poison, and attempted to rectify the degree of interest i have in “Wig Wam Bam” emulation (significant) vs. that of “Talk Dirty To Me” emulation (scant) with the fact that it’s pretty much the same damn riff. In short, not to draw unfair comparisons or anything, but this record is the type of thing you buy in the summer and play for a week or two; the Exploding Hearts album is something that lasts you all winter and into the spring, and you can play pretty much any record for a week or two in the summer. I like it, but i wish it had a weirder production or something, just so i knew it was on my side. Also, any band that calls themselves “The Nice Boys” and doesn’t pick up on the Rose Tattoo reference by naming their first album “…Don’t Play Rock ‘n’ Roll” better get the hell back to Rock School, i’m sorry. BEST SONG: “Teenage Nights” BEST SONG TITLE: “Dugong Along” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Major Territories: Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles (sold out Spaceland).

 –norb (Birdman)