One listen to the first track and first single “Back Again” and Boy Kill Boy will surely be written off as the British Killers, but that label is not quite fitting. Yes, they do use plenty of keyboards, and yes they write exciting and catchy pop songs, but that’s where the comparisons end. Boy Kill Boy has a harder edge to them; the songs rock harder than anything The Killer’s have produced. They sound more like a combination of Editors and The Smiths than anything else.
Boy Kill Boy revels in the sounds of the 80’s, with keyboards that would sound at home on a Depeche Mode or Duran Duran album. But they’ve also been influenced heavily by guitar bands of the 90’s. “Civil Sin” sounds like Chrome era Catherine Wheel and “Ivy Parker” is a tense Oasis-type ballad. It’s harder to spot Boy Kill Boy’s influences; they don’t wear them on their sleeves, which is a good thing.
One of, if not the finest moment on Civilian is “Suzie”. One of the better singles of 2006, “Suzie” is three minutes and nineteen seconds of pure pop bliss. It’s an infectious tune with a knockout chorus that should have made these kids international superstars. Other tracks, “On and On” and “On Your Own” have a smart, punky edge to them as well that give the listener a rush.
While Civilian is a strong record, it does lose a little momentum toward the end, songs like “Killer” and “Friday-Friday” don’t have hooks as strong as songs at the start of the album like “Back Again” and “On and On”, but “Shoot Me Down” is a terrific way to end the album.
Produced by John Cornfield, the band sounds strong and tightly wound, which works perfectly with their music. While not a true knockout of a record, the strongest moments of Civilian are worthwhile, and make Boy Kill Boy a band to watch.