There’s point a midway through BOAT’s eighth album where it suddenly hits home. Where the weight lurking beneath so much breezily enjoyable indie rock suddenly makes itself plain; where you stop laughing along with the jokes on the surface and start to appreciate the poignancy at their core. ‘Tread Lightly’ may bounce along with the sunshine of The Shins and the nerdy charm of Fountains Of Wayne, but it’s an album about getting older and learning to process everything that comes with that. Sounds pretty serious? Hey, at least they know how to make you dance with it.
Musically, the record is a polished delight that’ll have you wiping the dust from fond memories of late 90s/early 00s indie rock - a Built To Spill guitar line here, a glance in Superdrag’s direction there… hey, even The Presidents Of The USA’s Chris Ballew turns up on the jaunty ‘Zombie State Of Mind’. So far, so pleasant, but every now and again there’s a hook as lucid and lush as an endorphin rush, and you’ll find yourself scrambling for the Factor 50 to protect yourself from its dazzling rays.
Naturally, singer David Crane’s lyrics are where you’ll find that counterbalancing weight. ‘Tread Lightly/Rock Gently’ sees him taking up space on the couch and ruminating over his poor diet, before lamenting the part of the mind that ‘keeps bad thoughts in and lets good thoughts out’. It’s followed shortly afterwards by ‘I Believe In The Principle’s simply expressed frustration: ‘I’m trying not to lose my mind / But I will lose it all the time’.
Seems pretty simplistic on the surface, but pair it with other depictions of a cold-pizza-eating, bill-paying, lawn-mowing existence characterised by a shonky metabolism and greying hair, and you’re left with something that’ll become more relatable with every passing year.
Maybe less exciting subject matter for younger listeners, but guess what, kids? It’ll happen to you too. BOAT might just have made the perfect soundtrack for life past your roaring 20s.
Words: Will Fitzpatrick
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