Though Carla Bozulich has said that Boy is her ‘pop’ album you might be better off approaching this thinking about Anna Calvi and PJ Harvey teaming up to cover their favourite Swans material. So – it’s that sort of ‘pop’!
Showing no signs of slowing, nor of losing any of the edge, Bozulich, three decades into her career, sounds as vital and energised as she ever has; Boy is full of highlights. The subverted last-drinks country of What Is It Baby, the Marianne Faithfull/Grace Jones lurk of Deeper Than The Well, the shimmering art-pop of Gonna Stop Killing. In a sense this is her pop album – it’s more pop than her work as Evangelista, it’s got an energy about it – and is at the least “song-based” rather than drawn out and darkly experimental. Although One Hard Man is a nightmare-crawl across three minutes, the sort of organic-meets-industrial percussive backdrop that Scott Walker has favoured across recent releases.
The David Lynch-ian Danceland is another highlight; Shivaree twisted down into drawled spoken-word with the ever-present hint of a vampire’s bite. And then Number X is all anxious and tense post-rock. By the time we get to closer, Don’t Follow Me, it’s almost a relief. So much has happened across the album – it’s as if Le Butcherettes has slowed its shtick down to a slow-motion murder-stroll. Boy isn’t at all a pop album. But it is a very good album.