To the joy of Maine modern rock fans, the Holy Boys Danger Club is back for seconds with a new EP, “The Boo Box.”

“Modern rock” is one of the more amorphous phrases we’ve got, but if we are in the era where the artist defines the genre and not the other way around, distorted guitar and big drum fans can rest easy. The future is in the capable hands of Nathan Cyr on bass, Zach Jones on guitar and vocals, Dan Capaldi on the kit, and Miek Rodrigue sounding a whole lot like gravelly Dicky Barrett from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (with a pinch more sweetness) on lead vocals, guitars and keys.

“The Boo Box” is built on ambitious hooks, and is performed with passion and gusto. If the squeeze put on independent music has resulted in anything positive for the artist, it’s that these guys are playing out of their heads to make good rock.

Notice how the effort is an EP, not an LP? LPs are barely viable to an artist in the iPod era, such are the production costs and time commitments.

The hunger shows. The record has the edge of performers who really want it, which is just about the most endearing quality a young band can have.

The Boys kick it off with “Better,” a track with exceptional torque, and the cohesive arc that only a seasoned songwriter knows how to draw. The organs sing, the drums rumble, and the guitars just about tear the walls down.

So too goes “The Pressure,” which surely has one of the sunniest choruses to come out of this town. I hope to be somewhere outside this summer, whooping and hollering to other folks while this tune is shaking leaves.

If the record has a weakness, it’s in the airtight production, which is maybe a little too CYY ready. It’s missing messes, which peers like the Hold Steady make an essential part of the songwriting process.

These songs are perfect and gift-wrapped with happy-ending closure, but there’s not too much new going on. The best rock comes from the cats who’ve been roughed up and can’t help but pour it out raw. Fine-tuned radio singles leave little room for that vulnerability.

Perhaps that’s not what the HBDC was up to this go-around, but it is a creative direction that will add immeasurable substance to the craft. For now, though, go have a few and check out the HBDC live – it’ll do wonders inside your crunch-lovin’ ears.

To learn more, stream tracks and check on dates, go to

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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