Playbill

"It's like punk rock never happened…," or so says the voice on "Spiteful Punk Rock Song #2."

That's because the once UK-based Boyracer was never just another punk band, especially with the support of labels like the sickeningly twee Sarah Records. Never mind that NME once declared that the singer couldn't sing and the drummer couldn't drum on the 1993 indie hit, "I've Got It (and It's Not Worth It)"… 'cuz, well, you see, it's Boy-FUCKING-Racer. Which, incidentally, is also the name of the new fave-bits compilation put out by founding member Stewart Anderson's own label, 555 Recordings.

Formed in 1990 in a Yorkshire pub car park (a parking lot to us Yanks), the lager-fueled Boyracer started as a quartet and went through numerous lineup changes. Anderson is the only remaining member from the band's inception. Releases came at a steady clip on various indie labels, with world-weary titles like More Songs About Frustration and Self Hate, Pure Hatred and From Purity to Purgatory being the general stock- in-trade.

Then in 1996 while touring America, Boyracer suddenly called it quits. Four years later a drunken spree and a last-minute gig at New York's Knitting Factory planted the seed for a 2001 reunion tour with brand-new members and a 33-song compilation to introduce newbies to the band's essentials. Anderson is now joined by former Boyracer guitarist Matty Green, and Philadelphians Jen Turrell (from Rabbit in Red), Frank (from Bright Lights) and Kelly Slusher.

Boyfuckingracer culls the best of the band's recordings, with a couple of unreleased bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. With feedback and noise galore, the CD clearly shows why Boyracer ended up on the "Monsters of Shoegazing" tour in 1994 with Henry's Dress and the Ropers.

The punk/noise-pop "Black Fantastic Splitting" precedes the introspective "Stabbed" and the acoustic guitar/banjo number "Friend." There's achy mood music like "Passionflower" and "Spindle," as well as punk-tinged indie rock (à la the Poster Children or the Pixies) like "He Gets Me So Hard," "New Punk Song" and "You're Breaking His Heart." Boyracer is versatile, that's fer sure. Add to that the overwhelming energy level, and this band is more than incredible, despite any unintelligible lyrics or other complaints.

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Sande Chen