The irony of the band’s name should clue you in on their mission: shattering the glass ceiling. Boy Band ⎯⎯ a magically-talented, tightly-crafted troupe of musicians named Ana Dratz, Jen Fischer and HaleyJane Rose ⎯⎯ let the patriarchy have it on their luscious and rootsy debut EP, Begin. Swelling with swampy folk shapeshifting and smooth wrinkles of glossy pop magnificence, the sturdy five-song disc stabs deep into the chest and wrenches away the most crucial of life forces as a way of deconstructing the system and jerking the straight white men from their lavish ivory towers. “You didn’t want me or my body / You didn’t even say you’re sorry / Now, you’ve left me high and dry,” they dress plaintively but assertively on the lead single, on which they don’t let an abhorrent lover have the last laugh.
Then, on “Up from the Mud,” they wield “a firm, determined hand,” a well-poised but tattered fortitude as they morph into bloodthirsty death-eaters looking for payment in flesh ⎯⎯ in much the same regard as systemic sexism has extorted from women for centuries. “I’m coming for blood / I’ll find you / Everywhere I look, no, you ain’t go no where to run / I am the strongest flower rising from the mud,” the trio determine, starring down their detractors with grit rolling between their sharp and shiny canines. From the kazoo-drenched rollick “Think Things Through,” in which they galavant around as “modern-day female” crusaders to the tragic but merited fall of “King Lear” (inspired by a play by Shakespeare which is conversely extracted from the legend of Leir of Britain), Fischer, Rose and Dratz revel in man’s demise, ripping away their control and usurping the egregious throne of assault.
The band are steadfast in their harmony work, too, packing wall-to-wall with vocal streaks, even on the more brittle moments. The titular song relinquishes the fiery angst ignited throughout the previous four tracks, bookending the EP in a ghostly echo chamber. “Sometimes, I’m dancing by myself / Pretend that there is no one else / Sometimes, I’m dancing by myself / At times, I watch the train go by,” the plush first verse rings out over violin and ritzy percussion. “Wishing I was a passenger on that line / At times, I wish that I knew why.” The melody glides gorgeously up and over the sun-painted peaks, dipping into shadowy melancholy before rising again, victorious but worse for wear. Begin is just the beginning. They know that; we know that. And now, it’s time for the world to know that.
Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Begin EP is out now on iTunes, and you can spin it below, via Spotify: