Every track on Boyfriends, Girlfriends sounds as if it is aspiring to travel back in time. Donora draws heavily from fifties and sixties pop, with just a pinch of John Hughes soundtrack-ready material. Though it’s clear where the band gets its influences, how the influences are displayed never rises above the level of pastiche. The music is generally appealing and sometimes catchy—“Champion” being the best of the lot—but overall the album is inoffensive at best and annoying at worst. The jaunty “Mancini’s Dance Hall” is the biggest offender in the latter category, with an incredibly grating lyric: “Well the girlfriends / Need their boyfriends / And the boyfriends / Need their girlfriends.” The band is clearly trying to have fun, and no doubt it is, but on the whole Boyfriends, Girlfriends pursues that fun in a manner that emphasizes poor style over nonexistent substance.
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// Notes from the Road
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