Amid the band t-shirts, cardigans and hairclips at this year’s Indietracks Festival was a man wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “I’m the only one here not in a band”. He was almost right; the tiny indie pop event is a breeding ground for bands and most of the acts stay around for much longer than their 45 minutes on stage. This Many Boyfriends were one of those bands, choosing to camp with the punters a mile down a country path from the heritage railway centre where the festival is held.
And why not? This Many Boyfriends are a band absorbed in indie pop culture; their debut is testament to this, drenched in references to bands from Talking Heads and The Go-Betweens to The Pastels and legendary London indiepop club How Does It Feel To Be Loved. It’s a thoroughly nostalgic record that doesn’t even think about trying to be fashionable or ground-breaking; it’s a scruffy, DIY celebration and an ode to the things they love. And above all else, it’s brilliant fun.
Musically it sits somewhere between The June Brides and The Cribs; jangly, angular guitars and kitchen sink lyrics delivered in a blunt Leeds accent. Opening track Tina Weymouth says much about them, but it’s I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels) that sets out their mission statement, as singer Richard Brooke chants: “I didn’t leave when you said you didn’t like Springsteen, I didn’t even flinch when you said you hated The Go-Betweens, But what you said about Baby Honey was truly unforgivable so I had to cry…I don’t like you ’cause you don’ like The Pastels.” This Many Boyfriends have hormones shooting through their veins, but their favourite bands will always come first – something that’s evidenced throughout their album.
Single Young Lovers Go Pop! was released in August 2011. It’s soundtracked many an indie disco since, and already feels like a classic. An anthemic sing-along, a la Los Campesinos!, it has an infectious youthful energy that could cause the stoniest face to crack a smile. Starling and That’s What Diaries Are For follow the same pattern, but recent single Number 1 veers into more laid back, breezy territory; it’s end of the night stuff for when you’re all bopped out.
It’s been a long time coming; This Many Boyfriends have been scratching away at the surface, with EPs and 7″s knocking around for a few years now, but with a debut proper of this calibre, they seem destined to be promoted to the upper realms of the indiepop-strocracy.