Review: Shy Boys - 'Bell House'


On Bell House (Polyvinyl), Kansas City’s Shy Boys deliver a cohesive and ambitious jangle-dream-pop edible, with crunchy lyrics and song topics to boot. These include family, misspent youth, and the joys (and fears) of growing your own weed. The main binding agent here are the strong stylistic tendencies that make up the band’s sound: a fresh take on 1960s guitar pop, featuring unprocessed but complex vocal arrangements. After all, according to my Renaissance professor, all angels featured in Christian art (or putti as they’re called) are in fact boys.

“Evil Sin,” which has a killer video, starts with a three (or four)-part harmony a cappella intro before introducing the listener to dreamy effects-laden guitar paired with chamber pop keys. According to the Bandcamp page write-up (by none other than Kevin Morby), the song is about when the bassist/drummer Konnor Ervin was robbed. However, to my ears, the lyrics describe the almost daily task of processing the transgressions of others: “If you want to be my friend, don’t ever lie again,” is the final refrain of the song.