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Party Bois, “Being In U”

“A bunch of dudes in Boston rock bands (that they’d probably ask us not to mention) get their dance-pop on — with insane results. Party Bois debuted over the summer with unstoppable funk anthem “In Your Head,” but then raised the stakes in November with freestyle j-a-m “Being In U,” which might top this list had we decided to rank the songs. Taking pop back to the simple structures of the late-‘80s, “Being In U” makes us miss the KTU days of our youth and comes off as a party starter for any crowd or occasion.”


A new Party Bois song is up in video!

None of us can get to heaven on our own, but we could get close riding on the wings of a certified pop jam. Not too long after Party Bois served notice of arrival over the late summer with “In Your Head,” Boston’s dance scene wrecking crew are back with another love-makin’, ass-shakin’, in-the-rain-serenadin’ track that might even top their debut.“Being In U,” which premiered yesterday via YouTube and is available for free download on the Party Bois Bandcamp, takes us back to our early teenaged days listening to WKTU on our walkmans. It’s one of the best freestyle jams of the past decade, reminding us of a better, simpler time of music when Exposé, Shannon, Taylor Dayne and others gave us the true pop songs to learn and sing.It might be the local Kool-Aid talking, but there’s even some NKTOB deep inside there.“This song is about the love that happens after the lights go out,” Party Bois’ Keith Pierce tells Vanyaland yesterday. Adds co-conspirator Johnny Northrup: “Camera… action… just kidding, what Keith said.”

Give in, get down, and check out Party Bois this Friday at Cuisine En Locale in Somerville, December 5 at Opus in Salem, and — holy mother of God — the Great Scott Holiday Party in Allston on December 15 with the Scrooges. That last one is what we like to call “The Real Christmas.” Details on the first two events in the links and the flyers after the video.

Hard-rock vets get funky in synth-funk band Party Bois

For regular observers of the Boston rock scene, the effect was all the more delirious because the group comprises members from a number of notable local hard-rock bands, including frontman Keith Pierce of classic-rock throwbacks Mellow Bravo.

The project was born a few months back, when Pierce stopped into the New Alliance recording studio in Cambridge to visit with veteran engineers and producers Nick Zampiello and Rob Gonnella.

“I was saying, I’m bored, and I wanted to do something wacky and different,” Pierce says. “I asked Rob if he and Nick ever made beats, and he was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got beats.’ ” The two opened up a file of some 700 tracks they’d been amassing over the years. “There were fully realized jams, each had its own bridge, choruses and parts all well thought out. Immediately I was like, [expletive] yeah, we’re doing this.” He enlisted Johnny Northrup of the eclectic prog-pop act J/Q to join him in vocal and lyric-writing duties. “I was like, dude, you gotta check out this stuff I’m working on — it’s like funky Motown with old school beats. He said, ‘I have to be involved in this.’ ”

The interplay of the two frontmen is a key part of the appeal in songs like Party Bois’s first single, “In Your Head” — a sort of Robert Palmer-David Bowie hybrid as Zampiello describes it, with Pierce’s lower-end growl playing off of Northrup’s upper-register crooning. The two set to work trying to one-up one another, with provocative lyrical content that pushed just to the edge of propriety.

“We kept egging each other on, saying, ‘You can’t say that,’ and ‘Nope, I’m going to say it,’ ” Pierce says. “We just decided to really take a leap off a cliff, especially compared to the rock bands we’ve done in the past.”

Zampiello, who’s played in numerous Boston hard-rock favorites as well as the more synth-oriented Campaign for Real Time, said that he had no idea what they were up to until they came together to practice. “I had heard snippets of things, but when we showed up at the practice space for the first time, my jaw hit the floor,” he says. “They had completely blown up this idea. Keith was insisting it was going to be called Party Bois, and I didn’t realize how literal they meant that. I showed up, set up my laptop, then their friends showed up and started doing bong hits and dancing. It was just amazing.”

Bong hits or no, you’d be hard pressed to resist dancing to tracks like “Being in U.”

“I’ve always loved ’80s and ’90s R&B,” Northrup says. “This song sounds like Taylor Dayne. I want to be Taylor Dayne, I get to be Madonna up there. I don’t know why it’s always a female singer, but it is.”

That connection comes through on the vocals, but it’s the production that seals the deal. Zampiello, who has long experimented with beats and sampling, found that he had an affinity for funk. In the late ’70s, he says, “this thing happened with this step forward in technology, with very basic computers making beats, and people getting abstract and exploring that idea. I like the buoyancy of the music; it has a really upbeat feeling to it. It makes me smile.”

“The music is crazy,” guitarist James Towlson says. “It’s all analog synths from the ground up. Nick literally has 700 songs that he’s been writing, in so many different styles. It’s like being able to reach into a fridge, or going to the grocery store, and pulling out any type of song you want, then writing it.”

“To add to how freaky Nick can be with musicality,” Gonnella says, “I went over to his house for a party, and someone had leaned on the synths and crashed them. He woke up the next morning and turned everything on, and made a song out of it.”

There’s more precision at work here, but the spirit of on-the-fly, anything-goes is overwhelming in the group’s live show. Zampiello performs in front of a synth drum kit, jumping up and down through the entire set, while the two singers prowl the stage.

“Oh man, I don’t even know — it’s just like a flurry of lights and male crotches, I don’t really know how to describe it,” Pierce jokes of their show. “It’s a feast for the eyes and ears.”

And it wouldn’t work under any other name, Towlson asserts. “That’s the whole point,” he says. “It’s almost like Party Bois should be the adjective for how we describe it. Once you see it it’s like, Oh, right, it’s Party Bois.”

An album is in the works. Hear music at

Party Bois

Party Bois