Setting the Paces

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BOAT's third album, Setting the Paces, sticks to the formula the band had previously utilized. Short, snappy tunes with rambunctious vocals and humorous lyrical content, with debts owed to Pavement, Television Personalities, and the Banana Splits, and with a bouncy energy that makes the album very easy to like, even when the words stray over the line from clever to silly. This time out, the band has tightened up the sound; the guitars have more bite, the beats are more propulsive, and the overall feel is more rock than pop. It was a move that could have backfired -- trampling over the quirky charm of D. Crane's vocals just for the sake or rocking out a little more would have been a disaster. Instead, the elevated intensity and energy give the songs some added impact. Check "God Save the Man, Who Isn't All That Super" or "Interstate 5" for examples of how this new approach really pays off. It's like the band all of a sudden decided they were for real, and decided to make a real rock & roll record. The songs that dial back the energy and get spacy ("100 Calorie Man"), jangly ("Calcium Commuter"), or gently acoustic ("Reverie") work as nice contrasts to the rest of the record, and show that BOAT is growing quite nicely as a band. The only possible caveat is the lyrics. If you are inclined to find songs about stalled minivans, muscular friends, and math skills kind of ridiculous, you may have trouble getting into the album. Anyone else will find the lyrics to be refreshingly off-kilter and occasionally moving in an odd sort of way. It's not easy to pull off this kind of humorous indie rock, but on Setting the Paces, BOAT come through like champs.

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