B Boys

Dada

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Offering a further distillation of their lean approach, Brooklyn's B Boys return with Dada, a flexed muscle of a record that deftly mixes post-punk, art-rock, and subversive wit. As on their 2016 debut for Captured Tracks, Dada takes its cues from spiky guitar progenitors like Wire, Devo, and Gang of Four, with 13 songs that leave plenty of space in between the lines. Like a statement of intent, nervy opening salvo "B Boys Anthem" sets the tone as strident, hooky riffs propel barked statements like "identity seen in a mirror, this body encases all my fears." Lead vocals are shared between guitarist Britton Walker and bassist Brendon Avalos, whose short shouts play back and forth like clipped punk echoes falling occasionally into militaristic unison or communal harmony. The production and mixing from engineer Gabe Wax is upfront and uncluttered, focusing on the trio's minimalist power and rhythmic interplay. There are brief punk blasts like "Psycho (Still)" -- a title making its third appearance in the B Boys canon -- which halts rather abruptly at just over a minute in length, as well as longer, moodier cuts like "Fade" which veers slightly into new wave territory. "Energy" is constructed around a single repeated guitar note while standout track "I" cascades into an outpouring of rugged electricity over fascinatingly complex drum patterns. Even as they toy with their non-conformist psychology, absurdist in-jokes, and opaque commentary, B Boys seem to adhere to a distinct personal code and within those confines they've created a strangely alluring little world.

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