Album Review: The Boys With the Perpetual Nervousness — Songs From Another Life

Something about this outfits name immediately brings to mind the gentle approach of bands like Belle and Sebastian. And as it turns out, that snap judgment isn’t too wide of the mark. Imagine if Teenage Fanclub dialed back the shaggy roar of their guitars, opting instead for Rickenbacker jangle. A tasty proposition, that, and one that begins to describe the sound of this band from…wait for it…not just Scotland, but Scotland and Spain.

There’s nary a trace of Castillian vibe in the ten slices of pop perfection on Songs From Another Life. What there is instead is a superb command of pop song values, harmony, rhythm and the other key songcrft ingredients. There are subtle hints of Pet Sounds sophistication – chimes and production dynamics – but at their core this group is a rocking combo that serves up its music in a straightforward, guileless manner.

The Boys With the Perpetual Nervousness have fully absorbed the lessons of mid-period Beatles, Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet, and have applied them to original songs that sound new and yet warmly familiar. There’s foggy-window melancholy and subtle joy expressed in their tunes, and the music has the character that comes only from being made by people who really understand the style.

The album package tells us exactly nothing about the group; what little info I’ve gathered has come from a cursory poke around the ‘net. But that, the group seems to suggest, is all beside the point. It’s about the music, and here it is, they might say. Take it for what it is, and luxuriate in the swooning jangle of The Boys With the Perpetual Nervousness.