Pop-punk whiz kids Boids’ new album Quel Drag (out since February 21, 2020 on Stomp Records) is so ‘Montreal.’ I didn’t even have to look it up to know Boids are from Montreal, QC. From the franglais album title to bombtrack “Bike Thief,” this record oozes with tell-tale traces of Montreal’s love for all things pop-punk. Quel Drag is so rife with pop-punk tropes that fans of the genre won’t be able to not love it. At the same time, that’s this album’s downfall: it’s musically simple and brings little to the table that’s new.
There are lots of good things to say here. Producer Tom Thacker of GOB and SUM 41 did a great job boiling down Boids’ raw punk attitude. The result is eleven listenable, interesting, and consistent songs spanning 31 minutes, which shine with their lyrical, if not so much musical, originality. The comparisons with Green Day and Blink 182 are so obvious that I won’t delve further on them. A huge plus is that this record sounds fantastic: well-produced and paced with no obvious sound flaws even after multiple listens.
Patrizio, Mike, and Andy (credited by name only, not by instrument) describe themselves as ‘weird,’ but I think “clever” is more accurate Their playful, out-of-the-box lyrics are just rebellious enough to grab your attention without being too vulgar. They’ve also incorporated all sorts of interesting cultural references. “Night Night” includes a line from the popular nursery rhyme: “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” They also tease a Disney song in “Guillotine” (“Heigh-Ho” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” is briefly quoted in “Jet Blue.” There’s always something to double-take at!
I find music that attaches itself lyrically and thematically to a physical place endearing. When the listener can think “I’ve been there,” it creates a unique connection to the artist. The Montreal-inspired track fits that idea perfectly. “Bike Thief” is a wonderfully positive take on getting your bike stolen, a common occurrence in the city!
Boids close off Quel Drag with “Sue Tissue,” the longest track at 4 minutes and 35 seconds, and a clever franglais play on words with soupe du jour. Fittingly, I thought Quel Drag is an excellent soupe du jour, but its musical simplicity and reliance on tried-and-tested pop-punk tropes over musical innovation and originality mean it won’t stay in rotation. Despite that, pop-punk lovers will really enjoy this and listen on repeat!
Written by Henri Brillon
*edited by Danielle Kenedy