School Boy Humor – School Boy Humor

Band: School Boy Humor
Album: School Boy Humor
Genre: Pop Rock
Label: Vagrant

Tracks:
1. Paint Me Envy
2. Camera Shy
3. Turn It Up
4. Please Stand Up
5. Good To Meet You
6. This Is Your Life
7. Cheating Myself
8. Don’t Look Back
9. This World
10. Everyone Who Breathes
11. Let’s Talk Trust
12. What If
**Bonus Track**
13. Realize

Over the years, Vagrant Records has more than dabbled in multiple different genres. With a roster consisting of everyone from Dashboard Confessional to Dustin Kensrue to the Get Up Kids, it’s no surprise that whoever this label signs is destined to taste success. Genre is no barrier. In April 2008, Vagrant jumped on the bandwagon (of course the pun was intended) of a genre I can best describe as electro-power-pop-dance-core. You know what I’m talking about. That genre that makes you want to “shake, shake, shake, shake a shake it.” There has been a lot of speculation regarding Vagrant’s motives behind signing Little Rock’s, School Boy Humor, but I’m choosing to ignore it.. Their self-titled, debut full-length is set for release on February 24, 2009, and I suspect any scene high schooler will be downloading their copy via iTunes as soon as they get home from school. Simply put, they’ve got the total support of this college senior.
School Boy Humor opens strongly with “Paint Me Envy,” which features your standard instrumental line up– slightly overdriven guitars, heart-pounding bass, foot tapping drums and over synthesized keyboards. The keyboards tend to take on the sound of an electronic string (violins, cellos) section. Musically, it has a pretty solid introduction. The vocals come in somewhere around 23 seconds into the song. My initial reaction was “Wow! This sounds pretty good.” I then realized how similar the vocals on this song sound to something one might hear on a Mayday Parade album. The song has a few spots where most of the instrumentation fades out, leaving only drums and vocals. I’ll be honest and confess to the mini-dance party that occurred in my apartment at these points in the song. Seriously, I can’t imagine a better way to start an album.

Track two, “Camera Shy,” captured my heart after ten seconds. This song is easily my favorite on the entire album. It starts off pretty chill with a basic guitar riff, which soon meets an electronic drum cadence and vocals. The bass then comes in and breaks the track up into what is guaranteed to get you moving. Think Cobra Starship meets Forever The Sickest Kids. Pure gold. Ironically, this album was produced by Geoff Rockwell (Forever The Sickest Kids, Sky Eats Airplane). Although the music in this tune is beyond, impressive, the lyrics are what stuck with me. “You’re just a little bit camera shy, but you’re still a star,” will most likely be on repeat in my head for the next month. I suspect this song, which is actually a rerecorded version of the tune on SBH’s EP, will be one of the most played songs on this album.

“Lets Talk Trust,” track 11, shows a different side of School Boy Humor. This tune is a lot less electronic, but equally as good. Lyrically, I am again left impressed. With rhyme schemes that actually make sense and gang vocals on the chorus, I’m hard pressed to find anything to criticize about this song. There’s a lot more guitar distortion and the bass and drum kit play a less dance-core rhythm line. This sets the album up perfectly for the piano heavy acoustic track, What If, which comes next. It’s not often a band is successfully able to have more than one different sound on the same album, but these four guys have accomplished just that.

The album finishes with a cover of Colbie Calliat’s, “Realize.” This song drove me crazy, when it was released by Calliat last summer and when I saw it on the track listing, I was hoping someone was about to get sued for copyright infringement. Then, I heard the cover. I actually think SBH’s version is better than the original! Scratch that comment. I am positively, absolutely sure SBH’s version of Realize is better than the original. No offense to Ms. Calliat, but seriously, School Boy Humor has added that special something to the tune that she just wasn’t able to.

Every single song on this album, follows the trend set by the two opening tracks. This album is easily the catchiest piece of work I’ve heard since Forever The Sickest Kids released Underdog Alma Mater, around this time last year. Full of hooks and pure talent, School Boy Humor easily has what it takes to make the Vagrant Records cut. When Mr. Shotwell first asked me if I had ever heard of School Boy Humor, I said “No.” We then discussed the band’s name, and likened it to some high school ska band, gone wrong. 20 hours later, I cannot stop listening to this album. If you like Forever The Sickest Kids, Danger Radio, Mayday Parade or Metro Station, you better make sure you get your hands on a copy of School Boy Humor’s debut.

*Written By: Meaghan Allen*
Score: 8/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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