reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
Toronto-based band Boat Culture give sound to a lifestyle — a lake-beach rock-out kinda culture full of 60s-meets-90s cinematic builds. They’ve tagged their album as “rock your socks off,” and by the sounds of those old-school effected guitar lines, they succeed in their mission.
It is a strange unity that Boat Culture finds, like blending certain slushy flavours together. Not all of them, not mindless chaos, but just flavours that are different enough to create a unique essence. A swirl of lazy hazy Dinosaur Jr. style vocalization (“Blown Away”) followed by a solid pour of 60s school dance beats (“Half Old”) and a dollop of New Pornographers scale and variation on top (“Marble”).
On “Cousins” Boat Culture finds a cinematic sweet spot — not the grandiosity we might associate with the word, but a heartfelt, meaningful and dreamy song that you wish your memories could be montaged to. The energy never stays away long. On “New Song” we get the best of both: sweet catchiness in clear guitar lines measured against emotional howling. Power swells on the conflicted “Cry” and “True Blue”, which get to the heart of what Boat Culture is skilled at: exploring the vast.
“Only Me” is a danceable upbeat swing with melodic hooks that live up to the romantic title. Plus, there’s a psychedelic and nearly-jarring twist in the last minute. The fuzzy rock production takes centre stage on album closer “Soft Body”, and the shoegazey nostalgic guitar and noisy drums close the album on a hefty note.
MARBLE as an album is hard to pin down, but like a concoction of many flavours, that’s half the fun. As each new track begins we wonder what this one will taste like, and the answer is never disappointing.
Top Track: “Half Old”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)