Once every few years, I stumble upon a new artist that I truly get excited about. There are many up-and-coming artists I enjoy, but only a few that I can feel in the pit of my stomach. It happened when I first listened to Katy Perry’s “Ur So Gay” EP. And again after seeing Lady Gaga’s “THE FAME: Part One” video and hearing a clip of “Poker Face” for the first time. We all know how it turned out for them.
This week, I came across The Boom Boom. I recognized the band’s female singer, Kara Lane, from a previous pop project, but this group feels different. It’s more honest, raw, and there’s an undeniable chemistry between the three self-described “perpetual underachievers.” In addition to Kara, The Boom Boom consists of Bobby Boom on turntables, synths, and vocals, and Alex the Rockstar on drums and keys.
As the group’s primary vocalist, Kara possesses an intangible star quality. It’s not something that can be taught or learned over time. You either have it or you don’t–and she does. Her voice not only packs a punch, but she also has a great tone. It’s unique, but still radio friendly, and she already has a signature “thing” (listen for the little yelps and growls that can be heard on quite a few of their originals and covers). Bobby and Alex, two super talented musicians in their own right, complete the group, bringing everything together to create the dynamic pop sound of The Boom Boom.
The Boom Boom have already won Perez Hilton’s “Can YOU Sing???” contest three times, and one of their first videos I saw was a cover of Phillip Phillips’ “Gone, Gone, Gone.” Interesting choice for a group that likes their synths and leans electropop, but their dream pop soundscape takes the track to an entirely new realm. The climax comes during the bridge when Bobby joins Kara on vocals for an incredible melodic blend. Backed by Alex’s rhythms, it’s a combination that can’t be beat.
More recently, their cover of Tegan and Sara’s “Closer” won Perez’s cover contest. In the description of that video, The Boom Boom declare their love for the song’s producer, Greg Kurstin. As a pop music junkie, I’m very familiar with Kurstin’s incredible work. But, I think you’d be surprised at how many artists and professionals in the industry have no idea who he is (or at least not what he’s responsible for). That kind of awareness on The Boom Boom’s behalf bodes very well for their future. In fact, I could totally see them on something like the Kurstin-produced “Catch You” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Although their covers initially drew me in, The Boom Boom’s original material really sealed the deal. Their original tracks are just as well-written and expertly crafted as the pop hits they’ve covered. “It’s Not Love (But I Love It)” and “Toy” are full throttle electropop smashes with cheeky lyrics that match the equally clever production. A softer sound is displayed on songs like “Imagining” and “Stoned on the School Bus.” But don’t let the dreamy keys and strings fool you. The honesty and angst are still very present in the lyrics. “They misunderstood me my whole life,” Kara laments as the middle 8 of “Stoned on the School Bus” reaches its peak. If you happen to enjoy unique, relatable lyrics, infectious melodies, a proper build and song structure, and original production, I suggest you check out their stuff (that means all of you are listening right now, right?).
One of my favorites, “Do About Me,” seems to sum up The Boom Boom. The peppy production makes it an absolute ear worm, but the lyrics are much deeper than the sound would suggest. The best pop songs are ones that still sound like pop songs, but actually have something to say. “Do About Me” achieves that and the light/dark dichotomy can also be see in the band’s image. The dark cartoon that precedes many of their YouTube videos sums it up perfectly. They are part superhero and part underachiever–which essentially defines our generation.
I’m not big on making comparisons, but there’s also something about them that’s early No Doubt. Most of their original material leans electro, but I can also hear some garage rock and alternative influences seeping in. Perhaps they’re the middle ground between No Doubt and another group that helped define 90s pop: Aqua (while on the subject of
cheesy 90s music, would it be too much to ask for The Boom Boom to somehow incorporate Vengaboys’ appropriately titled #1 hit “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” into one of their songs?!). From their sound, to their look, to their performances, The Boom Boom seem very unaffected. I hope that wherever this industry takes them, that remains intact. Although they currently list their location as “mom’s basement,” I don’t think that will be accurate for too long. These unlikely superheroes may just save pop music…