This Many Boyfriends - Starling - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

This Many Boyfriends - Starling

by Clare Stemp Rating:9 Release Date:2012-02-20

Leeds-based indie-pop janglemeisters This Many Boyfriends' new single was co-written and recorded with their guitarist Pete Sykes (also a past Soundblab contributor), who tragically passed away last year. 'Starling' is dedicated to his memory. Pete had been increasingly known and respected on the Leeds music scene, and this must have added an odd pressure and focus for a band whose signature sound is one of bounce, cheer and fun. Certainly, it adds an unexpected poignancy and weight to lines like "We will live together for a long time". As the last song the band recorded as a five-piece, it is fitting that the song is so hopeful, looking to the future with a simple, good-hearted tenderness, something not always featured in some of their more ironic, humorous tracks.

With clear, unfussy production from Alan Smyth (Sheffield's 2Fly Studio), this charming, riff-ridden song both opens and ends with some impressive, stadium rock style finger-work from guitarist Dan, coming to a rousing close with a catchy chorus of TMB's trademark, rowdy-builder-style "BA-BA-BA"s, cranking the shout-along status to maximum. Lead singer Richard's graceful vocals are as enticing as ever, their sensitivity enhanced by the Smithsian lyrics and theme of youthful nostalgia, featuring backing vocals from Pete. With lines harping back to being "delicate and mean", and spending "years in the bathroom", the track manages to combine a familiar fondness and sadness for bygone teenage years. Morrissey would be proud.

'Starling' is released alongside a quirky fanzine, featuring artwork from the band's talented drummer Laura. This is available to download with the single as a PDF from iTunes, or can be ordered as a real life bit of paper (that you can touch and things) from Angular's website. The band are currently on tour, and have upcoming gigs with The Cribs and Allo Darlin', where they will also be selling the 'Starling' fanzine.

It seems TMB are heading towards bigger and better times, and this bright, hearty release functions both as a tribute to their past, and as a pointer to their promising future. With evidence like Starling to their name, they couldn't deserve this more.

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