Boats – [Album]

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sometimes the best way to see and hear things refreshed is to get out of your comfort zone for s minute. It might sound trite, but it's true; if you take a chance and get out from under the potentially stifling veil of what you know, you may be lucky enough to discover a whole new, vivid and exciting unknown to revel in. That's the chance I took when I put Boats' third album, “A Fairway Full Of Miners”, on to review it, and the gamble definitely paid off; the stark, bright and shockingly shiny sounds created by guitarist Rory Ellis, bassist Louis Levesque-Cote, drummer Luke Bergen, keyboardist Ashley Rock and singer/guitarist Mat Klachefsky dazzled me as they played out. Even better, when the album was done, I felt completely invigorated; this review was written as I hurriedly tried to encapsulate the details of the listening experience associated with playing through “A Fairway Full Of Miners” the first time. After I had my review written, I started the record over again just to make sure I hadn't simply been swept up in the moment and was delighted to discover that the second time through was just as exciting as the first.

The spirits of such atmospheric and textural luminaries  as Arcade Fire, Shadowy Men From A Shadowy Planet and Logh dance easily between the guitars, keyboards and orchestral bombast which colors songs like “Great Skulls,” “Advice On Bears,” “Sad Legs” and “O Jumbotron” and will get the heads of listeners spinning certainly as they pass by and, really, they'd be enough to get listeners hooked on Boats' ambitious push through “A Fairway Full Of Miners”, but there is more to be found in these dozen tracks. In fact, those tracks are only just contrasted perfectly by the comparative “smallness” of songs like “Advice On Bioluminescent Bears” (which sounds incredibly small – likely because the primary instrument in the song is a ukulele), “We Got Pillows And Blankets” (which sounds like it fell right out of the Eighties with its Brit-Pop guitar line and Stevie Wonder-esque hamonica solo) and “Getting Worst .JPG” (which just sort of twinkles gracefully at first, but gets pretty comical the harder it gets) and those lighter songs often end up being the real conversation pieces in “A Fairway Full Of Miners”; while the harder songs (if anything with a synthesizer can ever be called hard) are the ones which will get listeners' attention, the delicacy of the lighter ones often overshadows them, and the dichotomy between those two poles ends up being an excellent listen and representative of all the best parts of Boats as they are right now.

But who will they be when next Boats enter the studio to record a followup to “A Fairway Full Of Miners”? The answer to that is anyone's guess; Boats has left several creative avenues open for them to explore on future releases if they choose, and all of them promise to be very, very captivating should they be where the band chooses to go. That sort of open-ended nature of “A Fairway Full Of Miners” is one of the most enticing things about the record; there's no may of knowing for sure where Boats will go creatively after this record, but it's exhilarating to know that there are several possibilities laced into this album, and that's incredibly satisfying.



"A Fairway Full Of Miners"
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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