BOY at the Great Hall, Thursday, May 16.
Two years after their debut album Mutual Friends came out in Europe, Swiss-German duo Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass have slowly built a following with their pleasant and commercially accessible folky pop.
Now that the record is getting a North American release courtesy of Nettwerk, the pair is on a headlining tour that attracted a quietly attentive crowd to the Great Hall. Many of the highlights on Mutual Friends are powered by joyous hooks and a sprightly bounce, but onstage the duo made do with a stripped-down set-up that naturally favoured their more rambling material.
Often Glass and a second acoustic guitarist would strum as Steiner sang conversational songs about fatal beauty and coffee shop ennui ever so carefully, with a programmed beat or foot drum adding the occasional kick. Oddly - save for an audience sing-along - the pair failed to exploit this type of pop act's best asset: vocal harmonizing.
While their presence is likeable, Boy seemed too content to accept the creative constraints of their set rather than find interesting ways to overcome them.