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Surfacing

July 29, 2006|CASEY DOLAN

Turning the spotlight on musicians making a commercial breakthrough.

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CASEY DOLAN

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"Civilian"

Boy Kill Boy

Island/Mercury

Artist info: So much English pop these days gazes backward in sycophantic wonder upon the grand vistas of the Brit-pop tradition, but Boy Kill Boy throws a spanner in the works. Unlike the guitar-based units of the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, Boy Kill Boy sports a prominent synthesizer, one which echoes the early '80s post-punk dance sound. In American pop music, '80s nostalgia has become embraceable kitsch; the British public and press are far more fickle. But indications are that Boy Kill Boy has hit on a winning combination of post-punk Margaret Thatcher-era desperation and a willingness to dance till you drop.

Back story: In 2004, singer Chris Peck was living a feckless life in Theydon Bois, east of London. He and drummer Shaz were playing in bands that weren't quite coming together; gloom and doom were a daily regimen. A sound coalesced after the pair met up with keyboardist Pete Carr and bassist Kevin Chase at a party. The newly formed band hit the pub and club circuit, quickly amassing a following. By 2005, its first single, "Suzie," had been released as a limited edition single on a small independent label, and Mercury Records took notice and signed the band. "Civilian" is the band's debut release, but the single of "Back Again" had already given the group its first chart appearance at No. 26 in February on the British pop charts. "Civilian" entered the British charts at No. 16 in May.

Influences: Depeche Mode, the Smiths, Supergrass, Blur

Trivia: The video for "Civil Sin" has many shots of L.A. haunts, freeways and street scenes taken while the band was on tour earlier this year.

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