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New Boys Age: The Odyssey

The artists who benefit the most from best-of compilations tend to be on extreme ends of the output spectrum. Those who create very little over a career benefit from said collections because they act as one-stop listens basically serving as a whole archive. And then there are the prolific acts, such as Boys Age…this pair have released a bunch of EPs and albums across various labels from all over the world…and that’s not counting the loose songs uploaded online AND tracks popping up on various label compilations. Keeping up with these guys could be a challenge…but the just-released The Odyssey serves not just as a great intro to the duo, but also their all-around strongest release yet, highlighting all of their off-beat strengths in one long player.

Boys Age are a rock duo capable of sloggy psychedelica, sweet indie-pop and straight ahead rockers…they are inspired by a mix of classic rock, ’90s college favorites (Yo La Tengo coming up a lot) and a handful of stranger types. Their lead vocalist often sounds like he’s gargling water mid-song, but it makes their songs all the more charming. And The Odyssey gathers the pair’s best forms in one digestible place.

It ranges from their most off-beat pop songs – the unbalanced-but-playful “God Will Test You Through The PC Screen” – to their most C86-worthy cut to date, “I Wish For God’s Sake” (that chorus!). The Odyssey leans towards the quieter material in their catalog – the almost-whispered “The Jealous Of The Devil” and the drifting “Hail Me” being fine highlights of this – which doesn’t quite capture the absolute best manifestation of the duo, which is their live show – in person, their music is loud (like, really loud) and hypnotic. This collection, mainly, highlights their songwriting knack with only a few moments of release (mainly in the back end). However, as an entry point into their sprawling discography, it’s tops, and as a top-to-bottom listen, it’s one of the strongest Japanese indie-rock collections of the year. Get it here, or listen below.