ET Boys – Forever Night – Album Review
Some of you have heard me say it, but I’ll say it a bit louder for the people in the back today – “Sober,” the track that starts out Forever Night, the debut record by ET Boys, is absolutely one of the most SINGLE-WORTHY cuts I’ve heard in the past five years without a doubt. Seeing that it went on to be the opening track on this record was quite the statement in itself – ET Boys have arrived. This is their moment, and they’re ready to attack it with everything they’ve got. The most unreal fact that you’ll learn about this record as we roll through this review is that “Sober” doesn’t even go on to be their first #1 single…that honor goes to another track that we’ll get to later on in the lineup. In any event, let me be crystal clear about this – I ain’t WRONG about “Sober” – by all accounts, it SHOULD have been a monumental chart-topping hit in every corner of the globe. It’s a weird world we’re living in where a track like this doesn’t reach that #1 spot it deserves to. It’s had no problem at all sitting in the top spot of my own playlists, that much I can tell ya…I have literally never tired of the hooks in this song, and considering it’s a high-glossy Pop track & how long I’ve been listening to it…honestly, it’s quite the achievement to withstand the wear & tear I’ve put on it, and a testament to what these two can create.
Those two I’m referring to, are none other than Tacboy (Vocals) and Sharkeyes (The Rest) – they’re no strangers to these pages of ours. I’ve reviewed several tracks from ET Boys in advance of this record, watched them become the top act repped by WakeUp Music Group, and heard them taking over the scene single-by-single as they made their way towards Forever Night. At their best, they’re a next-level duo without question…not just relevant for the right here & now, but beyond that, leading the scene to whatever trends might come next. Like…I might concede that a track like “Sober” probably has the makings of a great hit in a more traditional way…not necessarily something you’ve heard, but similar DNA. A track like “Nowhere” instantly shows how they’re able to combine the past & the present to create something all-new for ya. From the throwback synth-led vibe that harkens to the 80s, to the way that Tacboy takes this sound into the present with his lyricism & the theme of “Nowhere” – to the production that Sharkeyes brings to the game in shining this song up & the effects being used…it’s like they somehow take something from the past and make it modern AF to the point where most wouldn’t recognize that anything is borrowed from the roots of music at all, you feel me? This crew does what they do extremely well, and “Nowhere” is another track that confirms that completely – I love the way they’ve got this track structured to deliver…you’ve got insanely catchy hooks in the chorus for sure, but it’s also equally impressive for how every moment gets attention by the clever use of their sonic depth & dynamics. “Nowhere” is every bit as catchy in the spots where it isn’t decked out with so much flash and effects as the moments where it is…it’s a palette of versatility and diversity that leads’em to victory.
As far as “Poison Lipstick” is concerned, I think a couple things can be equally true. It’s fairly undeniable that at its core, there’s a lot less to the makeup of a track like this one – but what you’ll be surprised by is how irresistible this track becomes with what almost seems like half the effort of a “Nowhere” or “Sober.” Ultimately, that speaks strongly on behalf of both Sharkeyes and Tacboy…they know how to give a song what it needs, and they don’t just overdo something for the sake of living up to some strange expectation or standard. So if that means there’s less involved like you’ll hear in the space that a song like “Poison Lipstick” has, then so be it – they’re making the right calls…trust’em. It’s probably still fair to say that tracks like “Sober” and “Nowhere” are likely going to get that initial attention from people spinning the record in their first impressions & whatnot, but don’t underestimate a track like “Poison Lipstick” – this track will sneak up on ya in terms of how quickly addictive it’ll become, 100%.
“Long Night” was the second cut I reviewed from these heroes back in the day…somewhere around this time last year when Forever Night was still just a twinkle in their Sharkeyes. Been a long adventure to get to this point, I’d imagine it’s gotta feel pretty damn good for the boys to get this debut record out into the world at long last. Did I give “Long Night” enough credit for the kickass Jazz notes they added to it when I first wrote about it? I tell ya…that trumpet is freakin’ essential to this tune…and I feel like I overlooked that when I wrote about this song in 2021. Alas…if only there was some way to know for sure how I handled it (like clicking right here) – it’d probably be helpful if I actually read anything I wrote. Don’t go gettin’ on me for that – most of y’all don’t read what I write anyhow and probably skipped this paragraph or several others…or how about the rest of whatever I wrote this week? See what I mean?
What up with interludes just being actual tracks now? Am I that old? You remember how those used to be like, a minute & change in length back in the early 90s? Usually just the old-school voice saying ‘hey girrrrrrrrrl…I just want you to know how I really feel…cause I’ve been down lately…just hurtin’ without you here…’ with like, maybe a tiny bit of a beat or something? Now we’ve got ET Boys “fuckin’ two girls in one day?” Man how time flies and things change I tells ya. Anyhow. “TIOD (Interlude)” is a verifiable track on its own…that’s what I’m getting at, that’s what I’m saying. Sharkeyes would have to acknowledge that there’s just about as much involved in this ‘interlude’ as there was on “Poison Lipstick” in terms of the song’s DNA, if not a little bit more for him to do on this latter track at the mid-point of Forever Night. Is it going to be a hit for the young lads? I don’t think I’m quite going that far with it, and I’m sure the marking of ‘interlude’ somewhat implies that too…it’s definitely not an idea you’d want to throw away, but it’s also not the track you’d throw your full weight behind either. The question becomes, does it serve ET Boys and their debut record? It doesn’t hurt it…I can say that with full confidence – I still really enjoyed “TIOD (Interlude)” and felt like it fit into this lineup real snugly.
I believe…if I remember the timeline correctly here…”Something Love” was the first track that I ever heard by ET Boys, was it not? Way back towards the end of summer last year sometime I think. I still think it’s a solid track that smartly mixes street cred with sincerity with that modern-day relevance we’ve come to know from this crew. If anything, I suppose it’s probably fair to say that, at least for a guy like myself that’s been listening from close to the beginning of this two-man crew, that “Something Love” does sound a bit on the earlier-side of their sound overall now…but it’s only because of time and comparison that we’d ever really be able to hear that. Like, I’d probably tell ya that the first five tracks on this record – yes, even including the interlude – likely speak more towards where ET Boys ended up going with their music and where they want to go with it, as opposed to what you hear on “Something Love.” Still a quality tune, don’t get me wrong – but yeah…now that we’ve got all these OTHER tunes in the mix here on Forever Night, I kind of wonder if “Something Love” will stand out as much as it did to people back when it was a single, you know what I mean? That’s only a good thing y’all…they’ve created this problem simply through experience and the music they’ve continued to make…it’s because we’ve got so much more selection now that there’s a full album’s worth of songs that we don’t automatically reach for the one or two that are out there like this track had the advantage of being back in the day. You know, way back in the summer of ’21…anyone else out there still remember things from back then?
Man am I thankful for “Destiny Fruit,” I skipped breakfast, so this came around on the set-list at just the right time. Cleverness in both the music and the vocals play a huge role in this cut…they’re perfectly cohesive, yet almost appear like each element is entirely unaware of the other…not sure how you‘d go about accomplishing something like that, yet here we are and that’s what’s up. I dig it. I think Sharkeyes did an exceptional job with the music and the atmospheric vibe he puts into this one – and I think that the rhythmic way Tacboy went about working the hooks of the vocals was really smart too. Like I said, it’s almost like each aspect of the song exists on its own, but somehow they’ve met in the middle to really make this track work brilliantly when it’s all combined. That being said, it’s probably going to be relegated to being one of the ‘deep cuts’ on the record as opposed to the more noticeably single-worthy songs that ET Boys have become somewhat synonymous with. Which is fair y’all – let’s not forget that this is a DEBUT album to begin with, or the fact that not every song we’ll ever write is going to become a single & that not every track SHOULD be. “Destiny Fruit” has a cleverly exotic blend of sound & style at work…it might not be the first track that people gravitate towards when listening to this record, but it’s definitely going to be a welcome cut every time it comes on again on repeat spins.
“Anthem” was the track I just reviewed last month…I might have had that incorrectly labeled as ‘part one’ – not sure where I got that idea. Anyhow. Word on the street is that ET Boys just hit the #1 spot on some chart out there with this track, so congrats to them on that! As to how it’s happened with “Anthem” and not with “Sober,” I will never know, but I certainly ain’t opposed to these guys getting their due out there in the scene and some credit for their efforts – they deserve it. To me, “Anthem” is a solid representation of what I’ve been getting at when I’ve been talking about this duo being a forward-thinking crew…there’s really not a whole lot out there that sounds like “Anthem,” so for this to become what’s really been their most breakthrough hit to-date says quite a bit. It tells ya that they’ve got ideas and material that connects for sure, but it also tells you it’s well-within the realm of sound people are actively seeking out too. That’s the pocket right there y’all…that’s the space you wanna find yourself livin’ in as an artist…you’ve basically got the freedom to do things the way that you wanna do them, but at the same time, you can practically rely on the fact that what you create, the people will respond to. Trust me when I tell ya, not every band or artist gets that kind of luxury or creative freedom – ET Boys have got uniqueness that is hitting different for all the right reasons, and the people are taking notice. You can read all about my thoughts on “Anthem” from last month by clicking this handy link right here.
One of my favorite hooks on the record is found in “Take Your Gun.” I’m probably a bit here & there when it comes to the actual verse & all…but the main hook and the vibe in the music, is freakin’ superb. Lyrically, it’s still on-point…Tacboy does a solid job on all that stuff…there’s still a bunch of reasons to have a listen, I’m just tellin’ ya that I personally feel like “Take Your Gun” has some serious strengths to it and perhaps less of a balance in that regard – sometimes that happens. If you want a track that seems like its verses & hooks all come out with more evenness to’em, just hang tight, “wstd” will fill that void for ya in the next track up. In many ways, if you were to tell me that “Take Your Gun” was the least cohesive cut in the set, I’d have to agree with ya…it’s right on the fringe of what fits onto Forever Night. Doesn’t make it a bad tune by any stretch of the imagination – the strengths are freakishly massive on this track – but it’s much harder to predict whether or not this track will stand out for the right reasons, or stick out like a sore thumb in this particular lineup of songs. With an eerier vibe, and verses that probably connect more than the chorus does…”Take Your Gun” is a bit of a perplexing track to find within this set-list to a degree, but not so much of a stretch that anyone listening wouldn’t want to hear it, know what I mean? It’s still MORE ET Boys & that’s proven to be a damn good thing no matter what.
Are people going to respond more positively to “Anthem” and “wstd” surrounding “Take Your Gun?” Probably. And I can’t say I’d blame anyone if that’s how they feel, because I’m feeling the same way. I’m not 100% loving the sound/production on the vocals of “wstd,” but I acknowledge it’s a stylistic choice they’ve made and I respect that. It’s got that soft & warm glow to its sound, which can almost appear like it’s recorded at a lower standard or quality that could be a bit confusing for the average everyday listener out there, or potentially even hinder a song like “wstd” that has single-worthy hooks to it from reaching as many ears as it possibly could. I know what you’re thinking – it’s the HINDENBURG of all songs, right? ET Boys are GOING DOWN IN FLAMES! Please. Gimme a break – and more importantly, give THEM one – like I’ve said several times, this is a debut record. It’s only by comparison to all the awesomeness they’ve created already that “wstd” pales a bit when we stack all these songs up side by side. On any other record, “wstd” would probably be an instant A-side, and yet here in this lineup on Forever Night, it’s probably closer to a B – that’s on THEM, not on ME y’all. For real though…we gotta try things, experiment, and find out what does/doesn’t work when it comes to everything we do as artists, from the sound to the textures to the tones to the hooks to the vibe, you get the point. The bottom line is that the ideas on a track like “wstd” still hit the mark & that’s what matters most – as for sliding this knob that way and that knob this way…all that stuff gets sorted out over time.
Well looky here will ya? ET Boys are even kind enough to drop a bonus track for ya on their debut? You gotta love it. “Rain Or Sunshine” is one of those tracks where you’re stoked to hear them keep the party goin’ for one more tune…this track works really well in their favor…people will dig this. Most importantly, I think that with the dustier sound that “wstd” had through its stylistic vibe & production, “Rain Or Sunshine” was actually really important to have included – more-so than its ‘bonus track’ status would imply in fact. This is that track that reminds you of the sonic quality this crew is capable of and gets you re-spinning this record. Vocally, Tacboy is reminding me of the dude from our own Canadian crew called HotHotHeat at points on this track, while the song itself is almost more akin to something like you’d find from Dead Or Alive from back in the day. Further than the back in the day I was talking about when I was talking about last summer earlier on in this review…ohhhh shit I’m showing my age. Okay – that’s the cue, it’s definitely time to wrap this up, lest I reveal that I’m truly older than time itself. The steady pulse of “Rain Or Sunshine” should have no problem enticing people into another spin, and as soon as Forever Night loops around and “Sober” takes over once again, it’s game over y’all – sign yourself up for another trip through this record by ET Boys. They’ll have you looking forward to their next record while you’re listening to their first one, which is freakishly rare to say the least – they’ve got something special started up in this two-man crew, and I’m stoked to find out where it takes them next.
Find out more about ET Boys from their official website at: https://etboysofficial.com
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