Boy Sets Fire owns a small morsel of nostalgia in my heart. Being the first band I saw live, at the cozily cramped Chain Reaction in Orange County, Boy Sets Fire exhibits a teeming tempest of energy, emotion and raw intensity that swirls around like a monsoon-blizzard-hurricane-sandstorm all rolled into one hell of a force of nature.
Unfortunately, the oomph that the punk/straight-edge pop/metal outfit displays onstage evaporates on Tomorrow Come Today. Pulling off an encore to the fantastically kinetic and fresher After the Eulogy is not an easy task. Instead of building on Eulogy – originally released on the smaller Victory label – BSF seems to be treading the same politically charged ground. This album has more of a ho-hum feel than hum, rattle and soar.
As a band that cannot be exclusively shelved in any specific genre, BSF displays plenty of range, especially singer Nathan Grey. He can scream in a gravely roar one moment, then croon a poppy ballad the next, as in “Eviction Article.”
The range that was a strength on Eulogy seems to be a pratfall here, strangely enough. Also, there are no signature anthems – like the album-titled “After the Eulogy” “The Force Majeure” or “Rookie” – on the latest release. The songs on Tomorrow Come Today change directions and jump around from breezy to brusque more often than a plague of cantankerous frogs invading ancient Egypt.
The album is not without tiny gems, however. “Release the Dogs,” “Eviction Article,” “Management vs. Labor” and “On in Five” are solid if not spectacular. Though BSF stands out from the clutter of other bands, Tomorrow Come Today really should have come out another day.
[Eliav Appelbaum can’t explain the strange markings on his neck. But then again, he doesn’t have to.]