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Girls Against Boys 

Grog Shop,April 23

Just how cool are Girls Against Boys, the New York-based group that includes four good-looking guys -- bassist Johnny Temple, singer-guitarist Scott McLeod, drummer Alexis Fleisig, and bassist Eli Janney? They're cool enough to fill the Grog Shop on an Easter Sunday night (which happened to be Fleisig's birthday) without a new record to tour behind. Cool enough to use two basses, dress in black, and write songs with screwed-up titles like "TheKindaMzk-YouLike." And they get away with it. Almost.

It's virtually a cliché at this point to note how sexy GVSB is. Since its formation over a decade ago, the band has put its photogenic qualities to good use, getting ink in major rock magazines well before releasing its major label debut, Freakonica, on Geffen Records in 1998. And the band was in typical form at the Grog Shop. From singer-guitarist Scott McLeod's gaunt facial features to his repetitive, slurred vocal delivery, there's admittedly something seductive about the group. And when the band, which has roots in the D.C. punk scene, is hitting on all cylinders, as it was during a fired-up version of "Park Avenue" (from Freakonica), it's one of the most dynamic groups on the small club circuit. But ultimately, there's something shallow about the group's music. In interviews, McLeod has admitted that he stresses sex appeal over sounding angst-ridden, and maybe that's why, when he delivered the lines "I'd invite you all back for a drink at my place but I don't got a place" in "[I] Don't Got a Place," the second song of the three-song encore, he sounded more like he was making a flippant pass than someone on the verge of a breakdown. A little angst would do these pretty boys some good.

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