Let's Drag Our Feet!

(Magic Marker; 2007)

By Peter Hepburn | 3 August 2007

Seattle indie-pop trio BOAT is nothing new. Let's Drag Our Feet!, the group's sophomore record, keeps me reeling off other bands that the group sounds like. There are hints of everything -- Pavement, Weezer, Sparks, Yo la Tengo, Beck -- and discrete Carl Newman-isms run into whole-hearted Bishop Allen earnestness. There are (I fuck you not) definite hints of the Muppets. Of course, any band that can be doing all of this in one 40-minute record is doing something right. Let's Drag Our Feet! is such a consistently pleasant, listenable record that I'm forced toward the conclusion that BOAT is, in a larger, more significant way, definitely something new.

It takes a lot of verve to pull off such disparate, obvious influences and fashion a cohesive, unique whole out of them. Over the course of these 14 tracks BOAT seems to pack in a lot more than 40 minutes of music. The opening duo of "Come With Me, We'll Win" and "(I'm a) Donkey for Your Love" sets the tone for the record. The former is all FM pop, complete with handclaps and multi-tracked vocals, while the latter sees lead-singer D. Crane adopting a killer falsetto and the band nailing one of those sorts of pop choruses that risks getting gummed in your brain for a week. The record is made up of moments like these: killer hooks, dead-earnest (and often funny) lyrics, solid bass lines, and pretty standard-issue drum parts. It should sound more familiar than it does, but the band knows how to lace the parts together right.

The band tends to get in trouble with the occasional weak lyrics or bum melody. "The Ferocious Sounds of Lobsters and Snakes" is slow-paced, meaningless pap while "I Really, Really Think You Should Rethink Your Life" is painfully cute, right down to the xylophone line. Likewise, the four inter-song ditties that mark the album are annoyingly precocious. Still, most of the songs here manage to make a positive impression, and none seem content to fall back on rote formula. The band has a ways to go, but Let's Drag Our Feet! certainly demonstrates some impressive raw talent.