Introducing Expected Boy

Expected Boy are a punk band from Hyyinkää, Finland, who are about to release their new album Coming Home. We like bringing you the best in new music here at Soundscape, so not only have we reviewed Coming Home below, we also caught up with the band’s frontman Mara to give us an insight into the band and the album itself. Check it all out below!

expected boy Markus Malmberg
Photo by Markus Malmberg

How did the band form?
There’s something about that in the band page, but I’ll give you the brief version. Our guitarist and bass player have known each other since they were around 14 or so and have been playing together all that time. They formed a band in 2006 but it split in summer 2011, they wanted to keep playing so they looked for a new drummer and a lead vocalist. They found our drummer and me that same summer. We played our first gig in December 2011 and have played over 50 shows now.

You’re currently getting ready to release your debut album. What was the writing and recording process like?
There were only three songs that were written during the run-up to the album – Rats In My Back, Bonfire and Crack Another! The rest are all quite old, and Don’t Get Me Wrong is really old – before my time – but the actual “writing process” wasn’t so hard because we had the stuff pretty much figured. It was just a case of getting in the box and doing it. Guitars and bass were recorded at our rehearsal space and drums and vocals in a studio in Helsinki at our friend’s uni. So all in all, the recording process went well.

Were there any songs that were more of a challenge?
For me personally, yes. I had flu for the weekend we did the vocals and had to rest often in order for my voice to recover and sound at its best. In fact, we had a whole weekend to do that but I needed to go back and redo one whole song (Sea Siren) and some of another (Radiation Days). Other than that, I don’t think there were any other challenges – not that I wanna sound ego-like! Our drummer did all his stuff on that first weekend, pretty much first time for every song.

Are there any interesting tales from the studio in-between you being ill and your drummer completing all his stuff at lightning speed?
I guess for Radiation Days and Die Regretting I had trouble with the tempo on those tracks as they sounded different to how we do it live, so I was getting angry because I couldn’t get into the rhythm of them when singing. I went off on one, blaming the band for playing the tempo at the wrong speed and all the guys and the producer were just looking at me and laughing with this “what are you on about?!” look. Eventually I nailed it of course, but it was so hard – the tempo became a psychological block so I had to do it the next day. Naturally, we were boozing that weekend too, so that might have contributed to the wobblies!

Did it work better after you’d slept on it?
Of course. But in fact I didn’t like those vocals on the weekend for those two songs. So I rerecorded them in the week.

What’s the song you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of the newest three, mainly because we started writing them during the guitar and bass recording for the album. They just came together so well…just flowed how they should, and sound totally boss.

Moving onto your live show – how would you describe the band’s live show to someone who hasn’t seen you yet?
Hmm, to be honest I don’t like to describe us! I prefer someone else who has seen us to do it! The word which is used most is “energetic”. Our show is like a Steven Seagal fight – short, with powerful energy…to the point!

What’s the best show you’ve played?
Our drummer likes to think our very first, but I disagree because we have gotten much much better with experience. At our first gig, there was a really big crowd. People came to support and at the end I got them all involved singing along. The girls did the chorus first, then the boys, then all – it took the roof off.

Well that is pretty cool. You’ll have to make sure that happens over here!
We can but try. For me, my best show…there were a few for me. Our show in Hyyinkää for the EP release party on December 8 last year and Check Inn bar also in Hyyinkää in June this year. They’re our hometown so we usually always get a great reception and turnout. And they know the songs now, so sing along. It makes the atmosphere really nice.

Shows where audiences get involved are always more fun.
Absolutely. I feed off the crowd.

And what’s been your best experience in the industry so far?
Well, I’m currently trying to organise a UK tour and I have been amazed at how much other bands and promoters want to help each other! It really surprised me, it’s like a big family. The underground scene is very special and irrespective of genre, everyone is sincere with the well wishes.

 

Coming Home Review

expected boyComing Home is Expected Boy’s debut album, following on from their EP Radiation Days. Ten tracks of good, honest punk rock, you really can’t go wrong here.

The album opener Rooftops On Fire begins with ambient noise and everything slowly builds up with the addition of instruments and finally vocals. It helps it to get off to a running start and the energy doesn’t stop afterwards, with song after song being full to the brim of energy, and the fast pace of the album works well because it’s like a tightly packed box of energy that gets unleashed on your eardrums as soon as you hit play!

As Mara mentioned in the interview, the three newer tracks (Rats In My Back, Bonfire and Crack Another!) are definitely some of the best inclusions on the album. They just seem the most ‘developed’ and ‘together’ and really show how the band have naturally evolved and progressed with their songwriting, especially if you compare it to some of the older tracks of the album such as Don’t Get Me Wrong. That’s not to say their earlier stuff isn’t good of course, but these just have an extra kick to them. A particularly great point is the chorus for Rats In My Back – the repeated word of ‘no’ is simply crying out for some crowd participation in a live environment and you can’t help but want to sing along with it. It’s just so catchy!

Another great track is Cpt. Awesome. It’s a feel-good song, nice and upbeat, and as soon as the opening guitar kicks in, it just grabs you and holds your interest for the rest of the song; it very much lives up to its name and it really is about three minutes of pure awesome. It’s very memorable and is an accessible song you’ll keep coming back to again and again.

All in all, Coming Home is a great release and it’s definitely worth checking out this talented band, especially if you’re into your punk. Admittedly it is quite a “safe” album and doesn’t stray too far from the norm, so you shouldn’t go in expecting any surprises, but it’s a fantastic little album and if this is anything to go by, then their live show will be absolutely killer!

8/10

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About Natalie Humphries 1834 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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