"In pop music, "smart" isn’t always a compliment. “Smart” can mean “self-consciously clever,” and it can mean Ben Folds Five. Vampire Weekend are as smart as they come, but I don’t want to go anywhere near that campus if I can help it. There are few hard, fast rules in this life, though, and occasionally “smart” can mean "wise-assed and weary;" think Superchunk and Ted Leo, Cheeseburger recreating the cover of “Nilsson Schmillson” for the art of the Gangs All Here EP, and basically just knowing that punk was good, but so were Big Star.
Mike Pace is the good kind of smart. From his beginnings in the underrated, too smart for their own good, mid-2000s almost-made-its, Oxford Collapse, to his current project, Mike Pace and the Child Actors, Mike has steadily made guitar pop that's as indebted to 80s Athens as he is to UK DIY and the Long Island hardcore he grew up on. His new songs sound peppy as hell, but are still by—and for—complete nerds. By “nerds,” I mean the old kind that like science and Sparks, not the kind that threaten women and are into age-inappropriate collectables." - Noisey
"The icepick-sharp, criminally underrated New York indie band Oxford Collapse broke up in 2009, and we’ve heard precious little from the group’s members since. But now, former Oxford Collapse frontman Mike Pace is back with a new project called the Child Actors — entirely a solo affair, despite the pluralized name. The Child Actors’ first release is a new two-song single, and both of its tracks, “Summer Lawns” and “McKinley,” are enormously likable ramshackle roots-indie. The former Get Him Eat Him frontman and rock critic Matt LeMay produced both tracks." - Stereogum
"Imagine a montage of a gathering crowd. Everyone is walking in the same direction on a bright morning. People are laughing and people are joking and people are carrying their kids on their shoulders. Bus drivers are waving. Maybe some birds fly past. The crowd grows and grows and the sense of community and excitement weave together like at the end of Ghostbusters II. Then the familar vocals declare a new dawn: “Sundrenched sunrise, light floods in my eyes.”
Best Boy is for the children of the 80s and 90s, reminiscing about the age where entertainment exploded, where VHS tapes and cable TV transformed us into constant consumers. Of course, as consumers we were sold promises, told we merely needed x, y and z to be happy and successful and pretty and popular. It’s kind of ironic that a time built on visions of the future is now seen as a utopia locked in the past. Pace gets at this feeling by writing feel-good songs tinged with longing, nothing too sad or serious (80s/90s kids don’t take ourselves too seriously), nor a Father John Misty-style ironic assault. Instead, Best Boy is a wistful celebration of what we had and presents some convincing reasons for why we feel the way we do." - Wake the Deaf