Better Looking Boy by The Lavender Scare
The Lavender Scare’s “Better Looking Boy” has a great sound and, despite consisting of only two musicians, cones off sounding like a full four or five piece band instead of a duo. James Delos Reyes and his musical partner Luis Servin play a variety of instruments and share common sonic ground that makes this a winning listening experience. It is a guitar-driven performance with an authoritative backbeat transforming the overall package into a dramatic musical experience. They write about the reality of their romantic/sexual lives without apology but it shouldn’t impede your enjoyment of the performance; Servin and Reyes are never cheap and wrap their identities in recognizable musical garb.
Guitar has a center role in the song’s musical makeup. Both Servin and Reyes contribute guitar work to the song and the six string passages span a small gamut of sound – dramatic phrasing weaving together with knifing flourishes of rough hewn chords. The Lavender Scare’s production for this performance places the drumming in a good place – it hits hard, on point, and sets an emphatic and musical pulse for the track from first beat to last. It isn’t a no frills rock track, however – the presence of electronic music brings a lot of added color to the cut and diversifies the band’s sound.
Reyes’ vocal is a possible revelation for newcomers to the band. He has an exceptional mix of pop vocal gifts and the requisite lung power able of competing with the band’s guitar and drum led charge. The vocal presentation of the song highlights the recording’s production merits – Reyes’ singing is interwoven with the electronic musical touches and other instruments with a well achieved balance between these disparate elements. Any notions about this being written from a queer point of view are, in my mind, ultimately irrelevant to the song’s value – “Better Looking Boy” is a gripping rock track regardless of sexuality.
It’s a stormy and practically cinematic number. The general mood of “Better Looking Boy” is intense and fraught with a sense of dread hanging over the entire track, but it is never an unpleasant listening experience. It has emotional heft and grandeur, but also strikes a tortured groove you cannot help but follow. I’m a big fan of what The Lavender Scare accomplishes with this song. It is powerful evidence for how much this duo has grown since their 2016 formation.
“Better Looking Boy” will find an eager audience among those familiar with the band and net many new fans. Anyone who likes impassioned guitar rock and melody will rate this duo high. The Lavender Scare haven’t been together that long, but their latest single positions them to reach heights they haven’t yet explored. The track’s raw and immediate sound makes it an intimate experience the duo maximizes into a sweeping and sculpted take on theatrical guitar rock. It has a strong individual voice.
They are based out of the right city to make a mark. Songs like this are sure to improve The Lavender Scare’s ability to play higher profile venues and the size of the market in Los Angeles and the surrounding area puts them center stage to exert direct influence over their fortunes. “Better Looking Boy” won me over from the first and improves with further listening.