Boy Harsher – Careful
Straddling the middle ground between melancholic cold wave and regimented synth workouts, the new release from Massachusetts duo Boy Harsher has fans nostalgic for a period in history they’re most likely too young to remember
Of all the leather-donning, vintage synthesiser-buying minimal wave throwback groups that have cropped up over the past decade or so, Boy Harsher have a solid case for being the most successful. The Northampton, Massachusetts duo of Jae Matthews and Augustus Miller struck gold in the form of over five million YouTube hits for 2015 track Pain, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact it was initially released on low-key Spanish imprint Oráculo Records.
Now returning with Careful, the duo have proven to be far from one-hit wonders. Reluctant to move on from a winning formula, the music on their new LP is as highly danceable as it is steeped in existential angst; a gateway into one of the most richly creative periods in musical history for teens and 20-somethings too young to experience it first-hand. Face the Fire and Fate, the two singles from the album, also happen to be its most arresting tracks. Both follow the same formula of unabashed 80s darkwave with driving, dancefloor-focused synth lines, but it’s the latter’s wonky unpredictability that leaves the biggest impression.
None of the elements on offer here represent anything fresh or forward-thinking, but that was never the point. Instead, Matthews and Miller have identified the sweet spot between raw emotion and dancefloor hedonism – an alcove they seem unwilling to vacate anytime soon.
Listen to: Face the Fire, Fate, LA