Review of Ballads Of The Research Department [12k1068]

Vital Weekly (NL)

A duo of Craig Tattersall, whom you may know from Hood, The Remote Viewer and Andrew Hargreaves (Tape Loop Orchestra), known as The Boats and who had already releases on Flau and Home Normal as well as limited edition releases on their own Our Small Ideas label. The word ‘ballad’ in the title is something we should take serious, even when these ballads are small in number, four to be precise, and stretch out from ten to twelve minutes. This is another sign of 12K slowly changing interest from the world of electronics (goodbye) and extended use of acoustic instruments (hello!), which for the Boats include credits for ‘electronics, acoustics, tapes and effects’ and a bunch of guests on cello (on all four pieces actually) and vocals (on two). If there is an element of experiment in play here, I’d say its the way they compose their pieces: rather loosely. None of the four pieces are quite coherent, but rather shift back and forth between textures and moods. Loosely put down to tape and then mixed together in a similar free mode. Autumn like music – a bit dark, a bit grey, and when looked from the inside: quite warm. Light your fireplace and start playing The Boats. I assume that’s the general idea they are trying to get across here. While I thought this was a very fine CD indeed, I must admit that the material could have benefitted from a more rigorous editing, to make it more into real compositions. Perhaps that would mean various pieces would fall apart into shorter pieces, and more than one piece, but throughout also a bit stronger. Now its fine chamber pop of a rather loose nature. (FdW)

View Release