I have the pleasure of living in a single this year—a welcome change from the triple which I lived in last year. Now that I no longer have to worry about annoying any roommate(s), I’ve taken to putting on music while I get ready in the morning. And lately, as the temperature has steadily gotten colder and colder, the weather greyer and gloomier, I’ve been finding myself defaulting to my “cozy & warm” playlist more often than not.
The soft rock that Taylor Vick—who performs as Boy Scouts—makes definitely fits that criteria. During her opening set for Jay Som at The Sinclair, what struck me about her music was how dreamy yet refreshingly clear and forthcoming it was. It carries all the intimacy and sincerity of a bedroom recording, but without any of the lo-fi haziness that typically accompanies such projects.
Boy Scouts started the night with “Ought 2” from their 2017 release Hobby Limit, a mellow and somewhat sullen song—“bad at goodbyes my whole life / good at bad times my whole life”—that ended with a driven instrumental breakdown. The next song on their setlist, “Expiration Date”, felt sunny, as a cheerful and hypnotic electric guitar riff supported Vick’s airy vocals. However it was similarly crushing: “everything great has an expiration date / I think and I wait for my fate to show up late.”
Throughout Boy Scouts’ set, the crowd at The Sinclair was frozen, captured by Vick’s tenderness and unguarded lyricism. Emotionally affecting songs are often praised for their vulnerability, but the songs that Boy Scouts make are truly, truly deserving of that compliment. “Throw Away Love”—a song you can tell is going to be hard-hitting from the title alone—hit the crowd hard as Vick’s tender voice pushed and pulled, enveloping us in her compassionate yet truthful and pointed lyricism, “I hope you aim to steer free of doing to someone what you did to me”. The band ended with “Cut It”, a straightforward indie rock tune that quickly cut to the chase. Atop a simple, repetitive guitar riff, Vick mused: “you cut me out, yeah you cut me out / you’d think I’d be used to it by now.”
Although we love sad songs which allow us to bask in the depths of our despair, Boy Scouts simply doesn’t make that type of music. Yes, Vick’s music often focuses on the pain of a breakup, but it never wallows in self-pity. The message was clear: she is looking firmly towards what the future holds—“I’ve now wised up / we broke the good cup / guess that’s unlucky us.”