Album Review: BOYSLASHFRIEND - Sensitive Thug

Just the other day I found myself wondering what the internet-based, post-R&B crooner, BOYSLASHFRIEND (or Boy/Friend), was up to these days. Following up last year’s excellent Low Key, Shan Poo has returned with the just released Sensitive Thug EP, which picks up right where he left off.

A collection of six tracks, Sensitive Thug contains three full-length songs, one intro, and two interludes—making its fatal flaw simply being that it is just too short. But maybe that’s a good thing. It doesn’t run out of steam, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome; it just leaves the listener wanting more.

Relationships and the woes that come with them have always been the subject of Poo’s music, and the lyrical content of Sensitive Thug is no different. “I need a real one, ‘cuz I deserve one,” he sings on the moody, pensive introductory track, as swirling, overcast synthesizers back him up.

After the intro, as well as a brief snippet of conversation w/r/t dealing with a break-up, as well as the daunting and unappealing task of meeting someone new, the EP eases into its first “real” song—a slow burning, post-break-up ballad, “Unconditional,” where Poo confesses to his girl that they should just be friends. “Love never works out when we’re together,” he pleads during the song’s refrain.

The glitchy, skittering pop of “Wrong Direction” follows, weighed down by big, airy sounding vocals on Poo’s part, as well as musically speaking from the synth undertones that score the song.

By far, the EP’s finest moment is its closing track; it is also a bit of a surprise, as Poo opts to cover Fleetwood Mac’s iconic “Landslide.” Not an easy song to cover, it’s been done in the past by the Smashing Pumpkins and the Dixie Chicks, amongst others. Here, however, he turns the song inward, basing it around minimalist synthesizers pools. Yes, it still has dramatic, sweeping moments, and Poo’s vocals soar—but he shows restraint, which makes it a reflective final piece.

With each BOYSLASHFRIEND release since his debut, Leather Weather, Poo continues to show growth as a songwriter and performer, as well as maturity, and Sensitive Thug is no exception.

Sensitive Thug is out now as a digital download via Feel Up Records.