Album Reviews

Album Review: The Boat People – Chandaliers (Ivy League Music/Mushroom Music)

By | Published on Monday 10 November 2008

The Boat People

As a general sceptic on life, I can’t help but scan press releases with the scrutiny of a neighbourhood watch committee on fireworks night. So when I read that The Boat People have shared a stage with some of the most exciting bands around (Midlake, Idlewild, Deerhunter), and their claim to be the successors of melodic Australians Crowded House, my eyebrow was raised. And I have to say, based on ‘Chandaliers’, The Boat People are a band whose influences hang fearlessly on the precipice of plagiarism. Beginning with ‘The Awkward Orchid Orchard’, they sound like The Shins playing a smoke-filled jazz bar. ‘Born In The 80s’ transports the fretwork of Los Campesinos! through a kaleidoscope of infectious pop sensibility. And in the dulcet harmonies of ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’, the proud Crowded House heritage shines through in all its nonchalant beauty. Yet though these influences are as apparent as the melodies, The Boat People have an infectious quality that quashes the sceptic inside. The bizarre aspect of this album is that despite each song being a discreet packet of influence, the whole album has flavour and character, a consistency that supersedes the individual tracks. As the music builds, you’re enveloped in the world of The Boat People, and a casual stray into the painfully twee is blunted by the album’s honesty. I imagine even as the author of the press release finished scanning the gushing hyperboleof his own creation, he would have taken the words with a fistful of salt. Yet, beneath the exaggeration, there actually is a glimmer that Crowded House’s successors could be round the corner. GB

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