Boys Like Girls self-titled debut for Columbia is pretty much your standard pop punk set. The band itself is pop punk and really nothing else, and that’s fine. The best way to describe them is The Starting Line meets Quietdrive. Ironically enough, I think these guys are a little bit better than Quietdrive, I just don’t think they went through as good of a process as what Quietdrive did. Yes pop punk is pop punk no matter what spin you put on it, but there are different things you can do musically and in production to make it stand out from the rest of the genre- that effort really wasn’t made here.
These guys aren’t bad; the opener “The Great Escape” is a decent song. It’s catchy, bright, and vibrant, and it’s almost enough to put you in the camp of Boys Like Girls. But then the next song isn’t that much different, and the rest of the disc isn’t that much different from track to track. The one track that does stand out to me and the track that shows the better route for these guys to take is the track “Up Against the Wall.” The song shows a lot of promise, because the bands stays true to their identity as a pop punk outfit, but also branches out with some Billy Idol subtleties that make the song itself unique. Another decent song comes right after “Up Against the Wall”, it’s the brit-pop esque meets Queens of the Stoneage (on the intro) song- “Dance Hall Drug.” It does the job until they get into the full blown dude choir chorus that is starting to get done to death.
Does this band have potential? Hell yes it has potential. It’s just not reached here. A safe route was taken with production and a safe route was taken with the songs themselves. When this band branched out a little bit- they succeeded. I’m interested to see what a Boys Like Girls sophomore album is going to be like. They have the skills to pull off something special. The debut however, is nothing special. For a good listen in the genre check these guys out, but don’t expect something too much different from what you normally hear.