THE MANY FACES OF THE MEANEST BOYS

The Meanest Boys produces romantic, spontaneous music designed for people who have a tendency to get starry-eyed insta-crushes on others they barely know. A delightfully dark carnival, Californian Will Marquis released the addicting Probably Not EP that will soon be part of a full-length release on Forest Family Records.

The EP begins with “Lost in the Fire”, which sounds a bit like a lost track off Pet Sounds that Roy Orbison co-wrote. Romantic as hell 60’s girl-group guitars warble underneath an angelically wormy synth. Complete with falsetto harmonies, this is definitely one for the lovers.

Next, “Strangest Things” keeps the retro vibe going with shoulder-swinging guitars and tape-fuzz bass. Marquis isn’t above a dorky groover (who is?) and this one is a ripe for head bobbing down the city streets.

The EP takes a turn with “I Won’t Bite” and moves into chill-out territory. White noise fogs over a palette of reverb-soaked vocals that glitch along with a kind of ease that recalls 90s hip-hop ballads. “Big Mistakes” marks one of the highest points on the EP. Here, he stirs a stew that’s part 60’s surf rock, part drug-hazed electro and, as always, darkly romantic. Repetitive guitar hooks matched by stuttering, looping backing vocals, makes this a hauntingly meditative track that shows just how far Marquis can push the envelope from the earlier, more pop-based tracks. The EP closes with “I Never Know the Truth”, a partial return to the more classic pop sensibility of the first two tracks, though not without winding swathes of static to keep it far-flung into the stratosphere.

Overall, this EP is pretty much gold. In five short songs, The Meanest Boys has shown many faces and tried on various pretty hats for all of us to admire. I’ll be floating on this one for a while, but it’s a good thing the full-length release is coming soon. If the rest of the album hits this well, I’ll be a junkie for sure.

Thanks Squarespace!