Boys of Fall – Distance
Released: November 20, 2020
Mike Martenson // Vocals
Jake Cemer // Guitar & Vocals
Dan Quigley // Guitar
Eli Sleeker // Bass
Scott Solomon // Drums
Love it or hate it, social media plays a major part in our lives, helping us to stay connected to people and news all around the world. Especially this year, music lovers have been particularly thankful for social media, for allowing us to remain somewhat connected to the music world through various live stream gigs and Q&A’s.
We also have social media to thank for bringing Detroit pop punk band Boys of Fall back together. The guys decided to call it quits back in 2016 and not long after through a huge increase of followers, streams on Spotify and eager persuasion from fans, found their love of music again and decided to reform the band. A year later, they had signed to InVogue Records and began recording their album Better Moments with producer Andrew Wade (A Day to Remember/The Ghost Inside/Wage War). And as 2020 almost draws to an end (thank god for that), Boys of Fall present us with Distance, their latest shiny beacon of hope in the form of a yellow umbrella.
Title track ‘Distance’ takes the lead into the album through airy guitar and sweeping vocals, seizing the listener’s attention from the very first note. It’s a love-sick teenage anthem that shouldn’t be played on any other volume then loud. ‘Midnight’ was the first song I heard by Boys of Fall and it piqued my interest due to someone telling me that they sound similar to Slaves. I definitely think that was an accurate description, though the full force, no hesitation to punch you right in the face scream certainly took me by pleasant surprise and left me dying to hear more from these guys.
‘Worth It’ is the last tease fans received prior to the album release, the pop-punky riffs throughout make it nearly impossible to not tap your feet along. The cleans and screams bounce off each other so naturally on this track, vastly elevating it from being just another pop punk song. Can I get an amen from my fellow emos out there for the name of the next track – ‘Mad Sad’. I need that on a t-shirt or something. Anyway, this track is mad catchy and really is the album’s crown jewel. It could have been released in 2008 and still have been a mega hit and it’s not just because of the crowd yelling that could have been from an A Day to Remember song.
The guitar in ‘Little Disaster’ really deserves a mention, I wish the solo was longer as it’s just so pleasing to listen to and executed so well. Echoed sporadic synths add a further charm and lightness, I can hear the crowd rhythmically clapping along to the closing chorus in my head making me yearn to hear this band live. Slowing it down, ‘Rain’ feels heavy and almost ghostly. It teases to the next track ‘Heavy Hearts’ with the same lyrics and melody, intertwining the two in such a unique and creative way. The main hook in ‘Heavy Hearts’ is by far my favourite from the album. It’s so god damn catchy and nostalgic, like I would have loved it even when I was 12, listening to emo tunes while talking to friends on MSN.
When I read the name ‘False Love’, I really wanted this to be a slower song that would make me happily sad. I have to say, I was not disappointed. Effortless cloud like vocals contrasted by an eerie electric guitar solo create a heavy mood, a welcomed change of pace and emotion from the abundance of foot tapping songs up to this point. The beginning of ‘Overthinking’ reminds me a little of Point North’s recent work, auto tuned vocals nicely weaving their way into pop punk driven harmonies. There’s these really cool synths towards the end that I would have liked to have heard more of, as they added a further dimension and texture to the track. ‘Closure’ is raw and vulnerable, I love that the band have chosen to show this almost unplugged version of themselves. It’s a beautiful end to the album and leaves me super excited to see what Boys of Fall will do next.
Distance feels nostalgic of early 2000’s emo, while adding some fresh pop punk elements and powerful screams to make it stand out from the crowd. In comparison to Better Moments, it does feel pretty similar sonically. I will say that there’s definitely more screams throughout, making the album feel overall more progressive than the last. Distance will certainly keep the band’s long term fans happy, while sweeping up plenty of new listeners along the way, myself included.
Boys of Fall have well and truly gone the distance and then some, I am so incredibly thankful they have decided to continue as a band. If you’re a fan of Slaves and Jeremy McKinnon’s screams, Boys of Fall may be your new favourite band.
Boys of Fall – Distance tracklisting
- Worth It
- Mad Sad
- Little Disaster
- Heavy Hearts
- False Love