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Platinum Boys Keep it Real

Mar. 28, 2017
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Illustration by Melissa Lee Johnson

The Platinum Boys have an enviable problem: They write too many songs. “It’s gotten to the point where the songs almost happen too fast,” says bassist-singer Joey Peterson. “Like, when we should be concentrating on tightening up our set or something, one of us will start playing something and then all of the sudden we’ll have a three-and-a-half-minute song.”

They don’t want to turn that spigot off. “We can’t stop, because the moment we stop and be like, ‘Oh, we’ll do this later,’ will be the day that we show up to practice and none of us have any song ideas, and that’ll probably be the end of the band,” Peterson says. So the band has done their best to make homes for them, keeping themselves busy with a stream of 7-inches and EPs in the two years between their 2015 debut, Future Hits, and their new sophomore album, Buzz, out this week on the labels Dusty Medical and Forged Artifacts.

It’s easy to see how the songs might write themselves. Like The Ramones’ 1977 debut, Future Hits was one of those introductions that flatly spelled out everything you need to know about the band’s interests, values and aesthetic: They’re a bunch of young guys, writing fast songs about fast living. That territory has been covered hundreds of times before, of course, but the difference is Platinum Boys make their debauchery seem strangely good-natured. They bring a kind of puppy-dog cheer to songs about wild nights and overindulgence, making lyrics that might otherwise ring with Mötley Crüe-caliber skeeviness feel as harmless as all those old Beach Boys tunes about cruising around in Cadillacs eating ice-cream cones or whatever it was The Beach Boys used to sing about.

The band simply writes about what they know. “As far as the free-living, let it all hang out thing that we got going on, that’s just kind of who we are,” Peterson says. “It’s not too hard to polish your image if that’s the image you wake up with in the morning. What you see at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night is the same people you’ll see at noon the next day. There’s no shtick.”

Buzz delivers the same giddy, thrill-seeking rush as Future Hits, though this time out everything is slicker, and the production is more precise in its references. It’s got that same glammy, almost artificially clean sound of Thin Lizzy and Todd Rundgren albums from the late’70s and very early ’80s—an era when even the most back-to-basics rock records sounded vaguely digital. Credit producer Amos Pitsch, of the Appleton punk group Tenement, for that coat of polish. In truth, he’s more producer than the band actually requires. There’s no reason a Platinum Boys album needs to sound this good—they could record in a laundry room and the songs would still come across—but the gloss is a welcome touch nonetheless.

As Peterson explains, the band approached the record with an open mind. “There was no expectation of for how we wanted the record to sound,” he says. “It kind of just happened. We were writing like every week at practice, then eventually we just started collecting these tracks, and it was like, ‘Oh, they all fit; it all gels together.’

I don’t want to say it’s more mature, but it’s more polished, more thought-out than any of our previous stuff,” Peterson continues. “But we’re always figuring shit out on our own end, whether it’s guitar styles between the boys, the way I play bass or Aaron [Skufca] plays drums, or our vocals, or our lyrical content, or harmonies, or how we sing together. We’ve just grown as a band, and that’s gonna change what our records sound like.”

Platinum Boys play an album release show on Saturday, April 1 at the Cactus Club at 9 p.m. with openers Dusk (featuring Tenement’s Amos Pitsch) and Midnight Reruns, who released their own new album for Dusty Medical and Forged Artifacts earlier this month.

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