Ballboy | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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What's in the water in Scotland? First we get collegiate mopes Belle & Sebastian, then the less melodic but even more depressed Arab Strap. And now Ballboy: on Club Anthems (Manifesto), these lads sulk like the former with fangs or the latter with tunes. Like the Auteurs, whom they also resemble, they make inviting music that showers disdain on the outside world. Compiling cuts from a handful of earlier UK-only EPs, Club Anthems sets its tone with a nasty little recitative titled "I Hate Scotland." Soon singer-guitarist Gordon McIntyre is declaring that "Sex Is Boring," and that so is house music--so much for that album title. "One Sailor Was Waving" kicks off, "I'm not the brightest hope / I'm not the shining light / Of my generation," before offering to "Get up in the afternoon and / Take a razor blade across my eyes and see / If it makes any difference to me." Yet McIntyre's negativity is actually compelling, thanks to his effortless melodies and the band's new-wavy arrangements. And as the graceful "Olympic Cyclist (Acoustic Version)," the windswept "Swim for Health," and the jangling "Essential Wear for Future Trips to Space" demonstrate, he can be just as sweet as he is bitter. Opening for Cinerama. Saturday, October 5, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

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