B Boys – ‘Dudu’ review

Score

At times sounding like The Clash if they'd come up in the Bushwick DIY scene, Brooklyn band B Boys capture the pent-up frustration of everyday life

Modern life, as Blur told us 26 years ago, is rubbish. Fascists are running the world. The one percent are getting richer while the rest of us have to scrape to make ends meet. Brooklyn’s B Boys know these very modern types of frustration, boredom, stress, and isolation well. They are, after all, the very same emotions they funnel into their music, crafting songs that can – temporarily, at least – help you burn off some of those burdens. On ‘Dudu’, the follow-up to their 2017 debut ‘Dada’, the trio reflect the growing bleakness of the world around them by sounding more fiery and furious than ever before.

‘Automation’ sounds like The Clash if they’d come up in the Bushwick DIY scene, all staccato guitar riffs from Britton Walker and barked gang vocals, but with Brendon Avalos’ elastic bass and a tempo that swings back and forth between breakneck battering ram and about-to-snap. ‘On Repeat’ is a rare piece of brightness, jangling and buzzing as if its creators have temporarily forgotten the ills around them (if you bypass the lyrics, at least) while ‘Ceremonies Of Waste’ undulates on waves of fuzzy indie-rock.

It’s in the words that B Boys really excel, though. On ‘Pressure Inside’ they build a claustrophobic picture of being stuck in the rat race, the challenges of ambition (or lack of) and feeling like your brain is about to collapse. “I’m always busy in my mind / Can’t think things through,” they sigh. “Getting harder to breathe / Can you just do you?” The dazed ‘No’ takes us on a very mundane journey through “a hell of a day” where everything goes wrong – getting locked out, ending up at a cash-only checkout with only a card – without anything really happening at all. The events it describes are as run-of-the-mill as they come – the kind of things Alanis Morissette could include on a 2019 version of ‘Ironic’ – but their power is in the heavy, trudging delivery.

Elsewhere, the band sarcastically sneer through the things you’d expect good people in society to do on ‘Smoke You’ (“treat each other very nice”), At the end, they reject the traditional arc of life – “Get a job / Find a wife / Have a kid” – with a final spat-out delivery of the song’s title. Not everything is a dark joke, though. ‘I Want’, which features Veronica Torres of fellow New Yorkers Pill, sets out B Boys’ wish list, including “pretty things”, “no abuse”, and “to be heard”. “What’s wrong with that?” they ask every time they finish a round. If only things were that simple.

Details

Release date: July 26
Label: Captured Tracks