A record to cry, kiss, or dance to; Boy Harsher’s latest album Careful is a heated, heartfelt affair. Full of beats designed to ricochet around dark dance-floors or lonely bedroom walls, the Massachusetts duo blend nostalgic 80s percussion with sharp modern production to create an immersive, magnetic listening experience.
Formed in 2014, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller released their first EP Lesser Man in the same year, and their sophomore record Yr Body is Nothing in 2016. Country Girl followed in 2017, and now the pair explore their “morose pop sound” further on their latest release. Named after the seemingly prophetic tattoo that Matthews has across her back, Careful smolders with a brooding, lusting aggression.
Inspired by traumatic personal experiences – the breakdown of a romantic relationship, losing a parent to debilitating illness, and a chronic fear of losing control – Boy Harsher offer a momentary glimpse in to their seething world via minimal electronics. The cinematic ‘Keep Driving’ opens the record, with whispered vocals and moody stretched out synths that could score a jaded night-ride, or an escape from a crime scene.
Hazy electronics, sultry vocals and 80s inspired beats combine in hypnotic style on ‘Face The Fire’, before the elusive ‘Fate’ bleeds in. It’s four minutes of off-kilter synths, breathy vocals and dance inducing beats. Grand synthesizers announce the arrival of next track ‘LA’, whist the throbbing synths and pounding beats on ‘Come Closer’ are intoxicating. It’s easily one of the strongest tracks on the record. ‘The Look You Gave (Jerry)’ flows in the same vein, before the punchy percussion on ‘Tears’ changes the pace. The track’s buoyant rhythms contrast well with the ominous, dramatic three minute interlude ‘Crush’.
Penultimate track ‘Lost’ meanders for just shy of five minutes, before the eponymous ‘Careful’ closes the record. It’s a brief affair with a mysterious voice sample, artistically book-ending this collection of alluring, seductive sounds. Whilst at points Boy Harsher’s Careful may may feel repetitive, it’s hard to deny the record’s flirtatious, infectious nature. Make sure you catch the band at HEAVEN on 27th February.