By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Overheard at a coffee shop several weeks ago: "Chelsea Boys? What are they like?" "Imagine hipsters, but with pubes everywhere. Synthy."
Indeed. Upon opening the jewel case of Chelsea Boys' self-titled full-length release, one is greeted by treasure trails and barely restrained cocks framed in flowers and zebra print, bringing to mind some drugged loft during sunrise in the mid-'80s as proto-house moves the hi-fi. Add to that a mountain of spastics and some Prince worship, and you're in the general vicinity of where Chelsea Boys are partying. Live, the three-piece feel unhinged and frantic, and on record that energy remains but is studied and arranged like a fucked-up Halloween costume.
The moan-and-response get-down of the standout "Jackson, Janet" is heavy on everything: skittering guitar, slap bass chunk uproar, enough cowbell to start a parade, and synthesizer like a diva. It's designed for your butt, and you'll immediately understand why once you hear it. The equally lovely "Pomegranate" is a shrieky minute-thirty of Pixy Stix punk that would be right at home at CBGB's, while "The Human Body" is an auto-tuned club slinker that's exactly what a basement show might need to get laid; not often (ever) does one expect a punk band only to be knee-deep in some weird dub-step undulations.
Measuring a lightning-round 17 minutes, the record gels together in a lovely jigsaw, leaving the listener bludgeoned by attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, pheromones, and odd-colored mystery pills. Setting out for the country of Sex and Don't-Give-A-Shit, Chelsea Boys have arrived. As for the ever-present questions about their name? "It's just a reference to Andy Warhol and being queer." —Andrew Flanagan