steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Boats

"Faulty Toned Radio" CD


Genre: elegant electronic tidbits

Manchester, UK

April 2010

Here we get warm, glitchy electronic music crossed with gentle acoustic instrumentation and a stable jazz influence. The Boats are Manchester's Andrew Hargreaves and Craig Tattersall, who apparently record bells, keys, winds, and twang and then wed them to IDM rhythms. It's a successful formula, more than a little reminiscent of work by FS Blumm and the Tied and Tickled Trio, though these two 'blokes' render Faulty Toned Radio sufficiently distinct. The duo excels at elegant, dare-I-say lounge-esque compositions which brandish soothing basslines, warm melodies, and complex yet unobtrusive beats, as on prettily crisp "It's Not a Folk, It's a Knife" and "The Boats Can't Save You Now" (replete with melodica). One imagines this sonic brew accompanying a trendy, tasteful dinner party attended by fashion-savvy young adults. Meanwhile, on "The Melody Mosquito" and acid-laced "Hemihorn," one hears the influence of Warp stalwarts like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher in the scattered rhythms and deformed synthesizer melodies. Other compositions retain the album's characteristic tone, but fade into the background due to a lack of salient features (glitchy "Harry, Stop it Please," piano-led "This is For You to Read"). These tracks aren't disappointments, but they lack the immediacy of the record's more notable works. Still, Faulty Toned Radio makes for a terrific mood-setter to accompany any incandescently-lit evening at home. In terms of foreground music, it seems to fall victim to its own lack of assertiveness, but don't you have enough loud, bumptious records in your possession already?

the boats' myspace

"Cars Bikes, Boats, Babes":

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released Aug 20, 2008]