Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk (Cover Artwork)

Boys Like Girls

Love Drunk (2009)

Columbia / Red Ink

Boys Like Girls is a terrible name for a band. Let's get that out of the way now. But, their debut and self-titled record had a couple of real pop-punk gems that would have made any masters of the art form proud had they written them instead.

Boys Like Girls' second album, keeping in touch with their knack of terrible names, is called Love Drunk and comes a full three years later. That is quite a significant gap between a debut and a sophomore release these days, particularly in such an overcrowded genre where many bands seem to be constantly racing against the ticking clock that is their fans growing up and moving onto new musical tastes. So, what have Boys Like Girls done with this album to distinguish themselves and start creating a band legacy? That's right, they have dropped a massive steaming turd. This isn't pop-punk -- this is power-pop and of the most unpalatable form.

From the opening two seconds of the first track "Heart Heart Heartbreak" (oh look, the terrible name thing is back), it becomes blatantly obvious the band has gone all Hellogoodbye with their sound, as horrible synthetic vocals with distorting reverb and electro-something-or-other effects blare out. It's really one of the most unpleasant album openings I've heard in some time. Next up, the title track is entirely forgettable, apart from some pretty ugly falsetto harmonies in the chorus and the terrible lyrical hook "I used to be love drunk, but now I'm hungover."

What other gems are there on this release? Well, the intro from "Contagious" is almost exactly ripped off from Bowling for Soup's "High School Never Ends" -- and that wasn't even a good song in the first place (seriously, do check out the similarity; it's uncanny). Elsewhere, stripped-back acoustic track "Two Is Better Than One" features a performance from Taylor Swift, and sounds like it's straight out of the next High School Musical film and is equally worthless as a piece of musical craft.

Predictably, the second half of the album is, then, a further extension of the same electro-pop massacre that is the first half. Final track "Go" clocks in at a somewhat long and self-gratifying six minutes but does sound quite nice after the preceding 40 minutes of aural battery, because someone unplugged the synthesisers. However, it's still nothing special.

All in all, I can't tell you how horrible this album is. I picked it up with the hope I might get one or two catchy little gems like their debut's "Five Minutes to Midnight." I wasn't expecting much. But a slap in the face would have better.