When I discovered BOAT (MySpace), I pre-ordered Songs That You Might Not Like and started a FensePost feature article on the band within ten minutes of initial discovery. Still, when I received the album, it took a while for me to give it a full listen and it took a few weeks to really appreciate the music. A week and a half ago I drove to Spokane and finally gave it a good spin. Multiple listens, a few coffee stains, and two worn edges later, the result was miraculous.
I felt i could relate to many of the songs. The sarcastic, frog-like vocals are throaty an have an amateur sound. But it enhances each track as many are awkward fairy-tales of lonely children and misunderstood youth. Such vocals add to the creativity and innovative nature of the band. The fairy-tale aspect is most apparent in tracks like “Clogged Castle” and “Elephant Ears”. The former discusses how being called names like “Reptile Boy” and having a broken home affects childhood. The latter stands out as one of the more powerful songs with its rapid strumming, background shouts, emotional chord progressions, and lyrics about the failed public education system.
“The Bar is too Low to Fail” has a light swagger and catchy verse as does “Last Cans of Paint”, making these songs more prominent than others. “Holding All The Globes” is a sing along/clap along anthem perfect for audience participation.
The group lists Tullycraft as one of their major influences. Thus, they find a natural home at Magic Marker, who has released a few Tullycraft albums over the years. While some songs have hints of this influence, “Beast for Hire” sounds like it could have been written and sung by Unicorns (pre-Islands).
The album title Songs That You Might Not Like depicts just that: this is a group that you might not enjoy—one whose obscure vocal styling may be too much for some, whose odd lyrics others may not associate with, and whose overall style is not necessarily conducive to today’s mainstream. But for those who give the album a chance, will be able to see depth in the painful childhood memories represented in the lyrics, and enjoy the addition of sarcastic reptile-like vocals… the album will be a pure delight.
This review was originally published August 17, 2006 on the old version of FensePost. Above photo by Fense.
BOAT: The Bar Is Too Low To Fail [mp3]
[audio:090506_boat_-_the_bar_is_too_low_to_fail.mp3|titles=The Bar Is Too Low To Fail|artists=BOAT]
Magic Marker Records [CD, 2006]
1. Greasedip Hairclip
2. Clogged Castle
3. Last Cans of Paint
4. Trained By Trains
5. Free The Birds In The Stall
6. Beast For Hire
7. Elephant Ears
8. March In The Streets!
9. The Bar Is Too Low To Fail
10. Holding All The Globes
11. I’ve Got Ninjas
12. Quickly & Quietly
13. Lanterns & Laughing Ladies
14. Noun Crown
15. Remember The Romans
16. Return Of The Rainbow Shoelace
17. Songs That You Might Not Like