Interestingly enough, when I first heard ‘Boys by Girls’ by Instupendo, I was doing laundry in the bottom of my apartment building at 1:30 in the morning. In my opinion, it was the perfect time to give this EP a shot: it was raining outside, I was completely alone, and my late night feels were at an all time high. Hell, when I went to write this article, I lit a candle and turned all the lights off just so I could sit in the dark and enjoy the sparkly synths that made up ‘Sugar.’ This all sounds incredibly dramatic (stay with me here), but for me, it was the best way to process Instupendo’s dreamy, wistful sounds and nostalgic lyrics. This is not an EP best enjoyed in chaos – if you want something that’ll clear your headspace and really allow you to process your emotions, ‘Boys by Girls’ is it.
Instupendo makes “music video in your head” songs – pieces that tap into your thoughts and expose you, and suddenly you’re constructing imaginary scenarios about a person you used to know or a feeling that no longer exists. Tracks like ‘Earring’ provide personal anecdotes that are honest, making them easily relatable – it’s the little things left behind, like a pair of earrings, that stick with us long after the magic of something fades. That sounds boring on paper, but Instupendo is excellent at capturing emotion through textures – the opening of ‘Pinch’ did exactly this for me, starting off with haunting string plucks that reminded me of an old friend’s ringtone. I love that each track on the EP is a layered, experimental work of art, because it allows listeners to pick out the rhythms they connect with best. What struck a chord in me could feel completely different for someone else, and that versatility is what makes Instupendo’s music inclusive of so many varying experiences.
‘Boys by Girls’ carries themes of identity and exploration of the self – from feeling like a vulnerable, beautiful princess in ‘Cinderella’ to exposing your insecurities over confident bass lines in ‘Antidote,’ Instupendo is looking to create a space to be his true self and let other people do the same. Instead of writing a bunch of tacky lyrics, he lets the music do the talking, creating an ambiance that allows your thoughts to come pouring in like his freestyle on ‘Talk.’ I was so at peace listening to this album that I almost didn’t want to put it into words – instead of overanalyzing how each song made me feel, I just wanted to connect with my feelings in the moment and really be present.
Even as I moved through the album, the lyrics of the first track, ‘Entrance,’ stuck with me in particular: “Don’t ruin this for me / Even if we disagree / I’ll be right here / And I’ll be right here.” Maybe genre-bending dream pop is your thing, and maybe it isn’t – regardless, Instupendo is clearly thankful to have a platform where he gets to explore his changing approaches to music, and he’ll still be a creator first and foremost regardless of what comes next. It sounds a little silly, but seriously – take this EP as an opportunity to be alone and let yourself process the emotions you often bury or overlook. You’d be surprised how content ‘Boys by Girls’ might leave you.