ALBUM REVIEW: Garden Spider – Boyish

By: Billy Bugara

Album release date: February 14, 2020
Genre: Alternative Pop
Similar to: Beach House/Alvvays
Rating: 8.5/10

Practically no other underground act in the greater Boston area dares to push the standard conventions of local pop quite the same way as Boyish does — a status they have come to develop in over a year’s worth of work. Dating back to their previous full-length offering Carnation in 2018, the group spent the proceeding months taking what was already a sound all to their own and essentially fine-tuning it with a number of captivating and momentous singles.  

This string of releases eventually led to the recent release of Garden Spider — the group’s sophomore release following their aforementioned 2018 debut.

If there is anything overarching narrative following this release, it is that Boyish have come through with not only a complete improvement on their prior work in every single way imaginable but also a full-length project that can genuinely rival nearly any alternative pop act working right now, regardless of their level of fame.

 The group takes the established dreamy, mesmerizing, and spacious sonics that this particular genre often flaunts and presents them in what can only be described as the perfect light. The album is essentially a culmination of everything that makes their style at its most basic level what it is, but with just the right amount of nuance sprinkled throughout to create something unmatched by any single contemporary of theirs.

 Tracks like “Fuck You Heather” and “Zodiac Killer” revel in this sentiment so vividly, being that they are responsible for kicking the album into high gear and setting its standards early. To say each track accomplishes this entirely is a complete understatement.  

Both tracks represent everything this album has to offer — all of those aspects that make up why it deserves so much praise. They both send the listener to a world all to their own, something that the group itself could only imagine. Such dream pop essentials like the powerfully crooned vocal passages, the utter essence of atmosphere created by the strings and synths throughout, and the generally interpretive lyrical themes prove why this is the case.

 As the album proceeds, it remarkably becomes more and more progressive and exploratory in all of its aspects. Instead of this circumstance taking away from the album after those two signature opening tracks, the group’s immense collective talent and corresponding intuition shine through and elevate the rest of the album to its now-lofty status.

 Garden Spider is a marvel of the greater Boston local scene as it currently stands. Throughout the rest of this year, and possibly even the years to come, it may come to stick out like a sore thumb, but in the best way imaginable. That is because no other project by anyone associated with this scene quite stacks up on a full-length level to what Boyish have laid down with this album.

 What is next for the group is uncertain, but with this release, they have certainly cemented themselves as masters, purveyors, and icons of this scene.