WASHINGTON SOCIAL CLUB "Bigger Than Your Boyfriend" Badman

Friday, June 15, 2007

WASHINGTON SOCIAL CLUB"Bigger Than Your Boyfriend"Badman

PROCLAIMING HIMSELF "just an indie rocker" and shouting out to Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, singer-guitarist Martin Royle sounds more than a little self-conscious on Washington Social Club's second album, "Bigger Than Your Boyfriend." His state of mind can't be attributed to the band's impressive growth in the past five years, during which it has grown from a trio to a quintet, attracted a sizable audience and earned respect for its style in a town not known for frisky pop-rock. Before all that, Royle was already a paradigmatic indie rocker, composing songs that are half heartfelt, half posturing.

The new album finds the group stretching a bit: Several tunes are more folkie than glittery, and both "Poor Kid's Bible" and "Prayer for Richard" are about naive young recruits sent to war. More typical, however, are such cheeky numbers as "The Breakup," in which the indie rocker loses love but gets to keep his favorite albums, and the punk-funk title track, which dances into Franz Ferdinand territory with its "I'm not gay / I'm just bored" taunt. These are not novel themes, but the Club keeps things fresh with spry rhythms and singalong choruses. "I had a dream I was a monument," Royle sings in the exuberant "Monuments," and the best of these songs are towering achievements -- in a just-indie-rock way, of course.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Saturday at the 9:30 club with the Dance Party.

Listen to an audio clip of Washington Social Club

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