Review of Ballads Of The Research Department [12k1068]

Exclaim (CA)

Around since 2004, the Boats have released a prodigious amount of work, this new album being their 11th offering. They started out as the duo of Craig Tattersall (once of autumnal post-rockers Hood, arguably the UK’s most underrated band) and Andrew Hargreaves. They are now joined by cellist Danny Norbury. Like Hood, the music is dark, melancholic and the end result is a beautiful and affecting record. The album consists of four instrumental ballads, over ten minutes each, in which the trio bring together washes of electronics, guitars bathed in tasteful reverb, brooding cello and warm, lo-fi drums that cut right through the sound as a welcome break in the murk. Occasional vocals provided by Chris Stewart and Cuushe know their place in the sound, not taking away from the focus, merely treated as an additional instrument. <i>Ballads of the Research Department</i> is a superb release that hopefully won’t go unnoticed. – By Vincent Pollard

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