The Boys

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Condemned at the time for offering up little more than a straight carbon copy of its predecessor, the second Boys album has since ascended to the pantheon of power pop greats, a combination of the band's own inestimable position at the forefront of what, by early 1978, was already a burgeoning movement, and their seemingly effortless grasp of the rudiments of, indeed, a great pop song. "Brickfield Nights," the opening track (and the band's third single), is almost Spector-esque in its vision, a Wall of Sound that totally predicts all that the Ramones would later do with Spector himself, but transplants the action and emotions into a strictly English setting, a soaring paean to the lost innocence of youth, set to a transistor blast of melody. Elsewhere, "Taking On the World," the deliberately Ramones-esque "Neighbourhood Brat," and the sourly recriminatory "Do the Contract Hustle" all illustrate the Boys' vivid sense of musical humor. Delving into the bonus tracks only amplifies the group's achievement. Songs the quality of "Teachers Pet," "Schooldays," and "She's No Angel" are hard enough to find in any band's catalog. The fact that the Boys could simply bury them away on B-sides or the shelf only amplifies the sheer wealth of quality material that was at their disposal.

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