"the more recordings boyracer releases, the more i understand how someone could become an obsessive boyracer collector, hunting down every song and recording no matter how obscure (every last cassette, lathe cut 7", split EP and compilation track). the more i hear, the more I want to hear, and that's especially the case with insults and insights, a firecracker disguised as an ep.
by 'firecracker' i don't mean to suggest merely that the ep showcases the band's ability to run full steam ahead through noisy, ragged pop songs like the punk superstars that they are. they do that, certainly, but insults and insights also displays the diversity of their talents, their melodic sense and emotional breadth.
lead racer stewart anderson is brilliant at channeling not just indignation and rebellion, but also a bittersweet feeling of longing. the ep's shining moment – indeed, one of the best songs i've heard all year – manages to tap into all of these strengths. "the sadness in you" begins with an open-hearted line, "there's a sadness in you that may never leave…", but before that even there's a snazzy guitar part that's central to the song's infectious melodic shuffle. the song overall marries its catchy hooks to a generally uplifting sentiment, encouragement to a sad someone.
"the second fiddle"'s center of gravity is a bit less optimistic, containing a lot of anguish and heartbreak, which comes out both as impassioned pleas over acoustic guitar and as electric cries and screeches. In their own, beautifully messy way, boyracer are jacks-of-all-trades, using whatever tool it takes, be it melody or feedback, to fill a song with raw, genuine feeling."
- dave heaton, erasingclouds.com
"boyracer's new ep, insults & insights, is immediate jangly fun. it's got a great beat, boy girl dual vocals, distorted but punchy guitar riffs and plenty of toe-tappin' temptations. the songs are a bit longer and more well-formed than their previous release, happenstance, which was 20+ songs with the average song length running around 1:11. as soon as you got into a song it was over...which was a bummer. not the case this time around.
the disc is all boyish charm + a cruch on the girl next door. it's kept from sounding too cute with the careful addition of distortion and jangle. the formula is near perfect. the result, plenty of head bobbing, arm pumping indie fun. it makes you take notice without being overpowering. this isn't background music or filler.
"louise" opens the ep with a superior sound. fast without being frantic with jangling guitar and fuzzy fits of distortion that keep it interesting without being jarring. "roubideaux" is a short and sassy instrumental. "smile on cue" has wispy, fuzzy vocals over a strong pop core.
at times boyracer sound like superchunk mixed with that dog style vocals, only male fronted. i can't give it a much better thumbs-up than that, as superchunk and that dog are two of my favorite bands. and extra coolness...this 8-song ep is only $5. do yourself a favor and go get it from their label, kittridge records."
--south of mainstream
"the nonstoppable boyracer returns with yet another release. stewart anderson has been at it now for about fifteen years...but you'd never know it from listening to his band's latest ep. insults & insights is a peculiar yet fresh collection of eight indie pop tracks. these simple, hummable songs are counterbalanced by some very abrasive guitars that sometimes seem to jump out of nowhere to assault the listener for no apparent reason. just as was the case with the band's earlier material on the sarah and slumberland labels, these songs have an odd accidental sound that is strangely appealing. top picks: "louise," "the second fiddle," "roubideaux." (rating: 5)"
"here's the most recent release from the fantastic duo of stew & jen, and it finds the band a little calmer and more composed. it starts off with "louise", which would've fit perfectly on their last album with its acoustic/noisy pop sound. "the sadness in you" follows and is unlike any other boyracer song i can think of - kind of dancey in a way! next is another girls at our best cover ("fast boyfriends"), played in true 'racer fashion; but then comes another fairly unique tune - this time a soft, acoustic song with a very new zealand-ish sound to it, with hardly any noise involved until halfway through the song. the second half of the ep starts off with "roubideaux", a brief and melodic instrumental, followed by a few more tunes in the recent style we know and love."
--chris mac, indiepages.com
"boyracer has that tinny fuzz endemic to old-school indie rock, and there are some fun fake falsetto vocals, too. and just when i feel like i can put these folks down as smooth retroids, they shift gears into modern art pop. and then back again. and then I realize that the folks are combining those two fairly disparate ideas, and it's only on a couple songs that one filters out the other.
by indie rock, i'm talking about wedding present or early my bloody valentine. and by modern art pop, i'm talking about anything from the sea and cake to tortoise to one particular phase of the mekons or latter-day wilco. that's a lot of territory to cover, and boyracer spans these ideas with exuberance.
above all my arcane analysis, this is one hell of a fun disc. the songs never flag, and in the end, it's that excitement that carries over into my opinion. crunchy as hell, and quite tasty that way."
--aiding & abetting