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Boat

Songs That You Might Not Like

(Magic Marker; US: 11 Jul 2006; UK: Available as import)

Ignore the jokey title: you should like Boat, they’re pretty great. The 17 short songs on their debut album flirt with Pavement, the Shins and even Islands but serve up a messy, loose-ends-and-all lo-fi grower. Across it all D. Crane’s voice holds the listener in an easy spell; it cracks at the top of its range, splintering wide on “Last Cans of Paint”, or descends into a cartoonish Muppet impersonation on “March in the Streets!” and “Beast for Hire”. This kookiness isn’t for everyone but it fills Boat’s sound with personality, and that’s more than a lot of indie bands can say these days. Add to the mix a varied, organic/joyful instrumentation and plenty of catchy hooks, and you arrive at something not entirely unlike Tapes ‘n Tapes. This is most keenly felt on “Return of the Rainbow Shoelace”, whose complex, evolving arpeggios echo “Manitoba”—until the “Love Shack” reference totally redeems the song, silly pop turned incomparably angst-filled. Addictive choruses fill the best songs, even if many seem ideas only half-sketched: check out disc highlights “Greased Hairclip” or “The Bar Is Too Low to Fail”. The DIY aesthetic extends even to the artwork, and is charming: a promising start.

Rating:

Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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5 Aug 2007
Ditching the Muppets impressions in favour of more straightforward indie pop, thankfully BOAT don't ditch the personality.
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