NXNE 2015 :: Girlfriends and Boyfriends

NXNE2015-GirlfriendsBoyfriends-1I always get nervous when I see a synth being set up on stage – it’s just so easy to do it wrong – and Girlfriends and Boyfriends had two of them at the Horseshoe Tavern for NXNE.

I’ll admit I was making judgements, even from their sound check I was deciding whether or not I’d like this band (nope, probably not).

Then they started to disassemble the drum kit and I all but lost hope. What good can come of this?

I’m relieved to report that I was wrong.

Instead of boring synths that put you to sleep, the Vancouver-based foursome used the machines to fuzz-out their sound, distort everything within earshot, add a garage element and bring in a great ’80s new wave sound – I mean, even the vocals brought Morrissey to mind.

The band lays the distortion on thick – like, really thick – and the vocals are perfectly seasoned. Sweeping synths come over you like a wave, while you’re entranced by the marching drums, which could take the breath right out of you if they tried. In all, they play together like a well-oiled machine.

NXNE2015-GirlfriendsBoyfriends-2As far as we know, they could very well have been playing together since the ’80s (except that they certainly don’t look old enough).

Either way, Girlfriends and Boyfriends really brought their aesthetic hard, between the deep, far-reaching drums, background fuzz and soaring guitars, it was the ’80s all over again – but thank God is the good parts of that decade.

The group was also unafraid to draw on various sounds. They pulled from certain garage influences, and added an almost skater-ish sound, albeit still steeped in all the fuzz and noise you can handle – and even a bit that you can’t.

As much as I didn’t want to like Girlfriends and Boyfriends, and as much as I wanted to be able to discriminate on the basis of synths on stage, I just can’t. I’m digging this band. A lot. Synths and all.

For more on Girlfriends and Boyfriends, visit their BandCamp.

And for more photos from the show, visit (and like) our Facebook page.

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