Although they were swiftly overtaken by the emergence of a custom-crafted power pop movement, for much of 1977-1978 the Boys reigned supreme in the bright and breezy bubble punk stakes, simply churning out a succession of two-to-three-minute gems that flooded not only their albums and singles, but also the realms of the alter-ego Yobs. Patently influenced by the Ramones but readily avoiding the most obvious traps by virtue of their own understanding of what made a pop song tick, the Boys' first two singles, "I Don't Care" and "The First Time," remain period classics, while their debut album, September 1977's The Boys, went on to nibble the U.K. Top 50 at a time when such glories were still a rare achievement. Tightly scything guitars, sharply embroidered keyboards, and Kid Reid's contagiously imploring vocals dominate the proceedings, a relentlessly crisp buzzsaw whine that is as melodic as it is fast and as irresistibly singalong as it is either. Time, the enemy of so many punk-era artifacts, hasn't dented the album's pleasures; indeed, it might even have heightened them, as a direct line of descent to the modern likes of Green Day is revealed in living neon. Several early CD reissues did little justice to the album; the Captain Oi release, however, is essential, not only for the mastering and packaging, but also for eight bonus tracks that include the first stirrings of the aforementioned Yobs, a pair of non-album B-sides, and two songs ("Lonely Schooldays" and "Take a Heart") that have never previously seen the light of day, but slide straight into the soul of the album regardless.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson