Drunken Boat

Dressy Hat

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Dressy Hat is about as New York and arty as a record can get without becoming very annoying. The band's dirty, deconstructive groove rock is buried under semi-spoken vocals that were obviously written more as performance poetry than a musical addition, and even the album's packaging tends toward unsubtle pretension, from the "No More Hippie Shit" credo on the backside to the interior claim that Rimbaud is the band's "guardian un-angel." This sort of attitude is, of course, present in all of Drunken Boat's work, but Dressy Hat takes it to levels bound to annoy all but those who truly enjoy the band's approach in the first place. Whatever semi-interesting things were accomplished, musically speaking, on albums like See Ruby Falls, are backgrounded here in favor of an overly assuming artiness that's not too likely to find many friends. The album, as such, may strike Drunken Boat adherents as their finest work yet, a sort of culmination of their idiosyncrasies -- but anyone who doesn't feel in on the joke from the beginning will almost certainly be turned off. The band's self-titled album is probably the best introduction to their style -- only those who truly appreciate that record and some earlier work should attempt to love Dressy Hat.