Most people are unaware of Germany’s big techno scene and thus, are probably also unaware of Alex Ridha, aka Boys Noize. The Berlin-based producer started out in 2007 with his album Oi Oi Oi, ruthlessly banging brute electro beats in German club kids’ ears. By now, Boys Noize is among the most well-known techno DJs in the world, having collaborated with Skrillex as a duo called Dogblood, and played in sold out venues like Fabric. Boys Noize introduced me to techno with his 2009 club-tune ‘Jeffer’ and soon I found myself on my first ever rave with Boys Noize headlining. That’s why Boys Noize holds a special nostalgic feeling for me and it worried me when new song ‘Starchild’, featuring lyrics by singer Poliça, was released 2 months ago on his YouTube channel.
The first released song from his new album Mayday sounded more like Disclosure and other commercialised electronic music in the charts (not that I don’t like Disclosure, but in my opinion techno should feature less lyrics and more hard bass). But my anxiety that another of my favourite electronic artists had turned mainstream was unfounded and I was positively surprised to find that Mayday opens with 3 really convincing tracks. All of them are dark and vicious tracks a la Boys Noize style, that belong perfectly into a sweaty, flickering underground club, clanking the bass between the crowd. I can’t deny that the next song ‘Rock the Bells’ is captivating, but sampling Run DMC’s ‘Peter Piper’? Missy Elliot already did that back in 2002, so I immediately had the word unoriginal in my mind.
‘Euphoria’ and ‘2 Live’ both feature memorable melodies, but the songs take too much time to actually start and I was immensely annoyed by the added pop lyrics as the track would have worked better on its own. After this point the album comes to a long haul, because nothing really seems to happen. The tracks are not distinctively weak, but quiet repetitive and similar sounding. The next-to-last song ‘Hardkotzen’ I had to skip, because it was simply inaudible and gave me horrible headaches, which I guess because of the song title, was Boys Noize’s intention (‘Hardkotzen’ translated means ‘Vomiting harshly’). The last track ‘Birthday’ stands out because of its rap lines by Hudson Mohawke und Spank Rock and bubblegum-pop beats, which is why at the end I’m still not sure if I really liked the song or absolutely hate it.
Whereas the album started out by surprising me with confetti tracks, Mayday dropped in the middle because of solid, but not really grandiose and innovative tracks, that are too repetitive. Boys Noize is missing something in these new tracks, most notably the spirit and ambition from his previous work.
Review by Carolin Wolfsdorf