The Boats: Tomorrow Time

Something's clearly up with The Boats. On its third album, Tomorrow Time, song titles like “You're An Idiot,” “May Our Enemies Never Find Happiness,” and, ahem, “A Sincere Fuck You” indicate a perplexing level of vitriol and bitterness (even stranger is the contradiction between its aggressive title and musical gentleness); more importantly, there's a sonic change too, with the group's formerly piano-laden sound (brought to refinement on the sophomore effort We Made it For You) noticeably less shrouded in mist and fog. Abetted by vocal contributions from Chris Stewart and Elaine Reynolds, Boats' partners Craig Tattersall and Andrew Hargreaves embrace a slightly more conventional song-based sound this time around which generally works well enough. Dreamy acoustic-electronic instrumentals (“This Song Is One Colour,” “I'm Talking Facts, Not Shit,” “Wasn't Changing Your Mind An Option”) glow and sparkle as softly as before and the beats pitter-patter as delicately too. A shame, though, that the singing isn't always a match for the music streaming so elegantly behind it (Reynolds' and Stewart's vocals verge on off-key and somnambulant, respectively, in “If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?” and “I Never Had You Down As A Liar” and the banal platitude “May the sun rise to meet you / May the road rise to greet you” weakens “You're An Idiot”). Other than that, Tomorrow Time fits snugly alongside We Made it For You and Songs By The Sea.

January 2007