May 23, 2016

Stream: Boyfriend Material - Boyfriend Material

Boyfriend Material's new EP reminds us that it's okay to walk away. 

My home state of Florida is often denigrated as a humid hellmouth – boasting 800-pound alligators, bath salt-induced cannibalism, and season 2 of the Jersey Shore. Despite this horrific legacy, I often find myself rallying for Florida’s surprisingly diverse music scene. From Tallahassee’s Naps to Orlando’s Wet Nurse, I have an arsenal in my back pocket whenever someone shows me yet another Florida Man headline. I can now add Gainesville’s Boyfriend Material to the roster, as their latest self-titled EP is an impressive, roller-coaster-of-emotion despite its short length. Clocking in at just 14 minutes, lead singer Shauna Healey walks us through the stages of a grueling break-up; replete with universal feelings of insecurity and ambivalence.

The sunny opening track, “Small Talk”, lays the groundwork for Healey’s Tinder-era malaise. “Met this guy, thought it was going well,” she recounts matter-of-factly, as if we’re lifelong pals shooting the shit on her couch. Between friends with benefits and one-night stands, she’s fed up and craves connection that she’s repeatedly denied. "Small Talk" is reminiscent of a Rilo Kiley track, as Boyfriend Material also uses aural trickery in catchy riffs that mask the gut punch of love. But “Two Steps Back” proves slightly darker as a descent into vulnerability; the moment you know it’s time to sever ties and find someone who deserves you. “Good Graces”, in turn, is the self-doubt that creeps in once the deed is done. Healey vacillates between “I think that maybe I’m better off” and “Maybe I was wrong,” a tug-of-war between self-worth and familiarity. Her confusion is palpable, and I didn’t realize how invested I was in the narrative until “Absentminded.” It’s a marked shift, not just within Healey showcasing her ukulele chops in the brooding track, but in its finality. Just as the EP comes to an end, so does this toxic relationship. This EP came at a strangely perfect time for me, as I’m currently packing up my childhood bedroom and moving out of Florida next month. But where Healey’s break-up was a romantic one, mine is more platonic. Florida is that annoying kid brother who constantly embarrasses you, yet you feel strangely protective if someone talks shit about him. Though I’ll be 1,000 miles away soon enough, I have Naps, Wet Nurse, and now Boyfriend Material to remind me just what I love about the Sunshine State (minus the frizz and bug bites, no doubt).

Shauna Healey on Boyfriend Material:

"Boyfriend Material as a full band has been a long time coming. Since the day of its conception, I wanted to add other members into the mix. Although this self-titled EP includes other musicians, it remains loyal to the project's confessional nature. The lyrics have a consistent theme: dealing with loneliness and trying to overcome its resulting depression. The words will take you through periods of self-doubt to inner confidence and hope, as I continued to write the lyrics and began reflecting on my life and relationships. The process of writing this album was very cathartic and the lyrics remain genuine to how I felt at the time."


Listen to Boyfriend Material on bandcamp.

Written by Taylor Silver