Saturday, July 21, 2018

Boyskout's "School of Etiquette"

by Caitlin McGuire (writer), Orange County, November 04, 2006


Here’s a comparison I’ve been dying to make since my dad handed me his collection of his favorite CD’s from the eighties: if Morrissey on “Sweet and Tender Hooligan,” Robert Smith circa “Boys Don’t Cry,” and Debbie Harry during any period, managed to produce a daughter, during her surly and rebellious teenage years, she would join BoySkout and do her parents proud. While the nearly all-girl lineup of BoySkout (Leslie Satterfield on guitar and vocals, Christiana Stanley on keyboard and violin, Piper Lewine on bass, Ingrid Dahl on guitar, and the lonely, male Steve Strehler on drums) don’t come from such wondrous stock, as all that, “School of Etiquette,” their debut album’s Joy Division meets Berlin sound will be recorded in the annals of great eighties throwback bands. “School of Etiquette” was a year in the making; While BoySkout joined in 2001, they began recording the album in 2003 with Bay Area producer Jeff Salzman (known for his work with Killers and The Sounds) on Alive Records, and released it to critical acclaim in 2004. BoySkout shares the same female moxy that has been displayed by bands like Tegan and Sara, The Lovemakers and Metric.

The autobiography of BoySkout is written in their sound. Born in the Bay Area in 2001, they share a Californian bounce, mixed with a touch of the northern rain and the sadness. Later, they moved to Brooklyn. There, they adopted an industrial side, and a little (okay, a lot) deviant sexuality, and maybe even a slight criminal nature. The CD opens with “Jesse James,” which pretty much illuminates the latter of their description. If you’ve heard of BoySkout at all, odds are, you know “Back to Bed,” a sort of sticky-sweet love song that soars with a Cibo Matto (pre-Sean Lennon) electro-punk vibe. “Sunday Morning” is nothing like the Maroon5 song of the same title; rather it plays like a goth-glam walk through a haunted house with someone you don’t entirely trust. However, the best track on the album is one of the closers: “Vitamin C.” The song is guitar driven; guided by Dahl and Lewine, while Satterfield’s sexually-charged, reluctant and snarling mumbles take second stage.

I want to say that BoySkout is the San Francisco equivalent of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But they live in New York now. And we all know that between YYY, Boyskout, and Le Tigre, their isn’t enough room for three different androgynous female-fronted bands in the same city. So maybe BoySkout isn’t entirely original. But can you imagine how great the show would be if the bands came together for a night of aberrant alternative electro rock?

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About the Writer

Caitlin McGuire is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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