Girlfriends and Boyfriends
Fallacy of Fairness
Vancouver post-punk quartet Girlfriends and Boyfriends’ third LP shows some tremendous growth in terms of songwriting and delivery. While the jangly, bass-forward sound that defines the album flows nicely from their murky 2015 album Your Garden, Fallacy of Fairness is strictly a brighter and more accessible affair; the production is cleaner, the songs are hookier, and the grooves deeper. Part of the key to the record’s uplift is a general sense of liveliness and gloomy fun, with the band try on numerous stylistic hats over the course of its ten tracks.
At their core Girlfriends and Boyfriends write and play groovy, danceable dark rock tunes with easy to grasp melodies. It’s a style with no shortage of classic antecedents and modern adherents from Red Lorry Yellow Lorry through to G&F’s fellow Vancouverites ACTORS, and one that rewards memorable melodies and general songcraft. Thankfully Girlfriends and Boyfriends hold their own in that arena; whether going the anthemic route on the big chorused “Forever By My Side” or layering shimmery guitars over a busy rhythm section on “Memento Mori” the focus remains on getting the hook over.
Intriguingly, the record also features a few notable variations in execution that show Girlfriends and Boyfriends in a different light. The most obvious of these is “Colour Shining Bright”, where the band dive in hard on glammy British new wave, adorning the track with synth toms, orch hits and a disco bassline fit for John Taylor. Elsewhere “Dirty Words” has a Smiths-esque bounce and lyrical conceit – “You wouldn’t hate me so much if you didn’t care” is just the right side of hand-to-forehead melodrama to warrant the comparison. The band even touch on goth rock on “Heaven Help Me”, as sampled strings and the vamping from guest vocalist Lindsay Leigh Dakin offer up darkwave grandeur.
It’d be backhanded to call Fallacy of Fairness unexpected in terms of quality, but to be totally frank it is something of an arrival for Girlfriends and Boyfriends. Moreso than any of their previous recorded material or live performances we’ve caught locally, it shows them as an act with honest to goodness tunes, and no shortage of ideas or energy in delivering them. A really pleasant surprise and a strong contender in the current North American post-punk landscape.