Extra Arms, “Inflatable Boys”: Track Premiere

Fronted by insanely prolific multi-instrumentalist Ryan Allen, Detroit quartet Extra Arms is prepping to issue their latest excellent full-length, Radar (pre-order now on vinyl or CD/digital), early next month. Continuing the group's take on alt-rockin' power pop that's fun, but often tends to have something meaningful to say (as you'll find below), Radar sees the band branching out a bit. This time out, the flawless earworm hooks begin to display influences from '60s garage rock or lightly synth- (or sax-!) tinged '80s jams—perhaps even a rare twist of countrified twang—so the result is just as likely to intrigue fans of The Cars as it is those listeners who might prefer Weezer.

As but one example, stream "Inflatable Boys" below:

Ryan provided the following to elaborate on the tune:

"Inflatable Boys" is a pretty straightforward riff on the idea of the ultra masculine male—the whole "Saturdays are for the Boys" type of mentality. Basically, just a critique on the idea that men can't be vulnerable, can't show weakness, and have to act tough at all costs in order to exude power and influence over other people. So, Trump, essentially. I'm the father of a 12-year-old boy, and I'm doing everything I can to make sure that he remains sensitive, caring, and empathetic toward others, and doesn't fall into that macho trap of puffing out your chest and having to be "hard" all the time. So far so good, but I can see how easy it is for men to fall into these trappings, as our society still seems to put these blowhards on a pedestal. The line in the chorus, "Put in a pin, to see who they really are," touches on my belief that most guys that behave this way are really just overcompensating for something, and as soon as you figure out what that is, exposing it is as easy as popping a balloon.

Musically, the song is an intentionally driving, down-stroked guitar-led anthem that has some nice flourishes of drum machine and synth to add some extra character. The drum machine bit is from a preset on a mostly non-functioning Yamaha Portasound PSS-120 keyboard that I found in my parent's basement a couple of years ago. There's no output jack on it, so we just recorded it straight out of the speaker into a cheap little mic laying around the studio. It gives the song a playful, almost broken-sounding intro that quickly gets wiped away when the band kicks in full-throttle. It's a trick that is probably overused, but I love that jarring effect you get when something is just a bit too quiet, and all of a sudden blows your hair back when the real part of the song gets going.


Hitting the streets on May 3, Radar is now available for pre-order. Visit Setterwind Records for vinyl (100 on black, 100 on translucent); while the band has limited CDs and digital over at Bandcamp. Hear more from Extra Arms through Spotify or Apple Music; and find them on Instagram and Facebook.