Rally Boy – Hooks & Crutches

Rally Boy
Hooks & Crutches

The nifty little Oregon four-piece known as Rally Boy is comprised of guitarist Dan Blaker, guitarist Ryan Matheson, bassist Justin Scott, and drummer Robert Ham. The first three guys all contribute vocal pieces here and there, just to keep you on your toes. Musically, the boys blend elements of indie rock, pop and punk to create their own semi-unique style. On this EP, Rally Boy craft six catchy little pop songs based around subtle yet somewhat complex layers of guitar work. Everything else is rather simple, and not even the guitars really stand out, but it’s still fun.

“Undrest” sounds similar to what The Pixies would sound like if they, for some unexplainable reason, experimented with a pop-punk sound. It is quirky and built upon some intriguing guitar work and layered vocals, but the drums and bass serve as the steroids, giving the cute little pop song a swift kick in the ass. “Stuck” follows as a short little number with just a touch of alt-country, but more straightforward indie rock than anything else, sounding a tad like Dinosaur Jr. or Sebadoh. “The Check-Out” kills the momentum, slowing things down with its nerd-rock-love-song style; mourning about not being able to talk to the girl you are in love with (“I saw you again today / But when I approached to say hello / The words they slipped away”). “Low E” is essentially the same as the track that comes before it, a slow, lamenting five-minute indie-pop song, spiced up just a little by a couple of odd flute interludes and the banging together of trash cans. After the two-song break, “Slang Tips,” a rant about the odd subject of linguistic purity, gets things going in an entirely new direction, sounding like a noisy garage indie rock/punk band with hoarse, layered vocals and a fitting lo-fi production sound layered over the fast-paced band. “Submarine” closes out the listed tracks with the same poppy/punky sound that makes the first two tracks the best on the album. After a few moments of silence, you get to the hidden track, an upbeat calypso-like song with acoustic guitars, brushed drums, and assorted percussion toys.

Fortunately, the guys don’t seem to be taking themselves too seriously, singing lyrics like “You’ve sunk my battleship / You’ve sunk my submarine / You’ve sunk a lot of things / But not my soul.” As a result, the songs, with the exception of the slower moments, are catchy and fun, sure to make you bob your head or get up and dance. It is a novelty album in a way, because although it won’t strike you as the sort of thing to leave a long-lasting impression, the songs are cute and catchy enough to lodge themselves in your head, at least until you hear something else.