Boy Harsher explore love and pain through nightmarish pop on Careful | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Boy Harsher explore love and pain through nightmarish pop on Careful



Don’t let the name fool you—the feverish, furious electronic nightmare-pop produced by the Massachusetts duo Boy Harsher leaves the gender binary feeling as antiquated as a phonograph. Vocalist Jae Matthews and producer Augustus Muller are intimately obsessed with the tactile urgency of now, and their musical language is born of chaotic, reactionary emotional shards. The new Careful (Nude Club), their third full-length, explores the wreckage of explosive love, and not necessarily the romantic kind. It follows the plight of Matthews’s mother as she develops dementia, and tracks such as the slow, foreboding opener, “Keep Driving,” serve as a reminder of how agony can, twistedly, take its time. In their live performances Matthews—who had the word “careful” tattooed on her body onstage just before a 2017 show the duo intended to be their last—is a thrashing force while Muller fumes behind a minimal gear setup, which leaves even more space for them to exorcise their fury (inasmuch as they can in 2019). Boy Harsher are harsh, that much is true, but they're harsh with a purpose; their frenetic shows are invitations for audience members to headbang out their own personal torments to the groove.   v

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