BOYS – PNKSLM Swedish affair

BOYS archives

Punk Slime Recordings (PNKSLM) has put out some topnotch stuff in recent years and BOYS is just a pick of the pop from the punk slime crop that caught my eye. Nora Karlsson, who also plays in Stockholm’s HOLY, has her own outfit called BOYS. I’ve never seen her in live format, but I might be right in saying that this is a solo venture with some pals helping out.

I know nothing about what’s going on musically in Stockholm. I’ve never been there, but I do know that bands like Lucern Raze and PNKSLM & Co regularly put on shows there and have established a staple place in the Swedish music scene. I mean they went to the MTV awards for goodness sake.

When something is emerging from a town or a place where you’ve never been with a language you can’t understand, but love how it sounds, and the people are all so beautiful, you can’t help but find it kind of enticing. I’m not familiar with the PNKSLM Swedish affair, like how it came to be, who was involved in it from the Scandinavian side and if it was a joint effort between London and Stockholm. What I do know is that PNKSLM discovered a bunch of youngsters that are very well endowed in musical talent and interest.

PNKSLM came to tour England last summer with HOLY. I was much too lazy to attend, but definitely regret it. Instead, I checked them out on the Internetbecause they seemed to have a cool aesthetic. Even if I’m reluctant to admit my shallowness regarding a band’s look, I will say that it is one of the big factors in how a band attracts fanfare, and don’t try to deny it. You can’t help but be intrigued by HOLY on first appearance.

BOYS archives

Through that seemingly superficial fascination, I heard that Nora in the band also had her own outlet, so naturally I delved deeper and found another musical goldmine in which to dig my teeth–BOYS. The goldmine isn’t that big yet, she’s only released a couple of 45s in recent months, but I can tell that there is so much more to come.

There are two tracks accessible on SoundCloud, plus the EP “Kind Of Hurt,” which was released by PNKSLM and you can hear it on Spotify. It is all pretty delightful. The material is quite dreamy with a lot of reverb in the production, but, in essence, it’s really nice and subtle making it right up my street. Not crass, obvious or easy, just something with a “less is more” mentality to it.

At times, I have a problem with the sound being over produced, particularly with how they treat the vocal and lead guitar with a reverb effect. It’s not just down to Nora’s stuff because a lot of rock and roll these days seems to be tarred with the same slap back/delay/echo wash. You can’t get away from it, whatever you want to call it. It’s not really my cup of tea. People use it in high measures, so much in fact, that it gets lost among the other elements in the songs. It starts to sound very abstract, so whatever you’re singing becomes almost irrelevant. I don’t know, maybe it’s a stylistic thing that just goes above me. I don’t really understand the fascination with it, but, then again, I’ve never really liked reverb anyway. That’s just my take on it.

Having said all this about production, the same cannot be said for a track like “Stars & Lies,” which uses just enough before it breaks my personal curfew on space echo. I love this track, and Nora’s voice shines through on it– a fantastic melody with a bright atmosphere too. It starts in one place and ends up in another and it totally passes you by without jumping out at you. Delivered with perfect execution.

If you were at PNKSLM Ball to witness HOLY play at The Waiting Room, and you happened to like it too. You will love Karlsson’s own songs. There are some similarities,but different in its own way. It comes well recommended.

We hope they return to UK shores soon and, furthermore, showcase her material from BOYS.