A lot can happen for a band in nine years; most bands hope to make it big and have music as their main source of income by the time they’ve been playing that long. Some bands don’t make it to nine years and break up, but practically none go on a nine-year hiatus and make a comeback. Yet, Boys Night Out have dusted themselves out from under the rug with their first release in nearly a decade. Their new EP, Black Dogs, will be released via Good Fight Music this Friday, July 8. For a band that’s kept busy away from the scene, their EP shows no signs of ever having slowed down since 2007, but why now? Singer and guitarist Connor Lovat-Fraser says, “it finally made sense.”
“We didn’t initially intend to release the songs we had been working on as Boys Night Out,” Lovat-Fraser explains. “It was only after a few of the new batch had really started to take shape that we realized how [Boys Night Out-sounding] they were. It couldn’t really have happened any other way.”
Let’s backtrack here: nine years ago there was no Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, or ads on YouTube. If someone was listening to Boys Night Out’s hit records—namely Trainwreck and Boys Night Out—you had to hear about them from word-of-mouth or MySpace (some millennials don’t even know what MySpace is; let that sink in) and go buy the album (with real money). Lovat-Fraser is still adapting to how different it is releasing music now, because once Black Dogs is out later this week, three of the six songs will have already been streaming on Spotify.
“I always found it much more enjoyable to go in blind when it came to listening to an album,” Lovat-Fraser admits. “Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful for the very positive feedback which the songs have received so far and even more thankful that anyone would even want to listen to these new songs. It’s definitely funny to see how much has changed when it comes to the ways in which music is consumed.”
In retrospect, some teenagers were just kids when Boys Night Out broke up, so Black Dogs is their first real impression of the group actively releasing music. The record is fresh, holding the same emo/post-hardcore sound the group perfected on their first three full-lengths and the EP that stands alone in the glow of their catalog. “Carried Away,” “Lust Phenomenon,” and “Prayed All Wrong” pull pop-punk highlights to the front—a touch off-base compared to the group’s previous releases, but not unlike Trainwreck because Black Dogs tells a story, too.
“We tend to be very autobiographical with our content,” Lovat-Fraser says of BNO’s output. “This album stays true to that. Sometimes it’s blatant, other times not so much. I know this comes across quite vague, but I’ve always felt like describing lyrics after they have been penned is akin to having to describe a joke after it’s been told. Something gets lost in translation.”
The EP is packed with heavy guitars, flat breaks, and smooth, layered vocals. Each song holds its own space on the release, neatly packed with distinct bridges that feel like a sister song. Unfortunately, the one thing fans should forget about from the band is a tour. “Even the possibility of a single show is unlikely at this time,” Lovat-Fraser confesses. The band took time off to relax with their families (Jeff Tarbender Davis got married in 2013 and had a child in 2014; Lovat-Fraser got married in 2014 and had a daughter in 2015) and were involved in other musical endeavors (Hard Calibers, The Cold Swing, Skittlebrau, Fuckholes, Crazy Diamond). Even mentions of a full-length are off the table at the moment; Lovat-Fraser said this release “marks a return to making music with these dudes simply for the love of making music.”
“For the first time in a long time we were free to make a record on a timeline which was 100% our own,” Lovat-Fraser says. “That lack of pressure freed us up to write in a way that we never truly had before. I feel like these six songs are some of the best we’ve ever written, and that’s a direct result of the way in which they came together.”
Unless, that is, the band decides to “realize [their] dream of receiving the Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album in 2017.” Lovat-Fraser is right; Black Dogs is arguably the band’s best EP and maybe the most solid release for Boys Night Out. Luckily, there is some humor in being old dogs learning new tricks. In good spirits, Lovat-Fraser mentions the younger generation who might not even know more about Boys Night Out than a CD case in their older sibling’s bedroom.
“Last week, my friend Mark, who is a teacher, sent me a text regarding something an 8th grade student of his had said about Boys Night Out,” Lovat-Fraser says contentedly. “I enjoyed it so much that I was compelled to post a screenshot of the text message to our Instagram and Facebook accounts. She described us as ‘a hardcore Weezer that’s trying too hard.’”