This Many Boyfriends is good clean fun, a solid set of ten unfussy indie-pop tracks which zip past in less than half an hour. It's a record which embraces its influences, mimicking them rather than trying to improve on them. That isn't really a complaint, however: this is a band who know their own limitations and operate confidently within them.
Lyrically, This Many Boyfriends are arch and literate. Playful references to other bands and albums abound. Careering opener 'Tina Weymouth', named after the Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club bassist, references Come On Feel The Lemonheads and Searching For The Young Soul Rebels; 'I Don't Like You ('Cos You Don't Like The Pastels)' name-checks Springsteen and The Go-Betweens as well as the Scottish indie outfit. On those tracks, in particular, This Many Boyfriends seem interested in the idea of defining yourself in terms of which bands you love. Singer Richard Brooke, appalled at an acquaintance's dislike of some of his favourite bands, eventually decides: 'I love you for being you'. 'These records are here to stay/although I might be a better person if I was without them', he admits; 'I scrawl Tina Weymouth across my clean white shirt in permanent white marker pen'. The albums and musicians he admires are an enduring, integral part of him.
Some people might find the idea of indie songs written about indie songs rather insular and off-putting. From that perspective, this is the sound of the genre slowly circling the drain. But I'll admit to a weakness for the sort of wry name-dropping on show here. Besides, there are plenty of other ideas on show; Brooke embraces an ascetic lifestyle on '(I Should Be A) Communist', worries that 'you don't want what I've got' on 'Everything', and wryly claims that 'we all got bullied at school' on the more-upbeat-than-it-sounds 'That's What Diaries Are For'.
Anyone who's heard the first Los Campesinos! album will know what to expect, musically. This Many Boyfriends is full of sparky, streamlined indie-pop songs. The bands always sound in a rush to get to the chorus; the guitar work is simple and catchy; there are oh-oh-ohs and exuberant yelps; you aren't going to encounter any lengthy drum solos. Half the tracks stick in your head; the other half rush past so quickly that you're not worried that they don't stick. Lots of fun.
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