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Boats!, Intercontinental Champion

The debut of Winnipeg-based Boats! is as animated as its linear notes. The notes feature images of cock-eyed marching bands, court jesters, and flying sharks, all of which mirror this wildly imaginative indie dream-pop record. Lead singer Matt Klachefsky’s helium-induced vocals will immediately turn off some listeners, but if this quirk bothers them it’s really their loss, as a host of talented Winnipeg musicians join in on the project — including Jay Churko (Chords of Canada), Ashley Roch (The Western States), Shaun Gibsom (The Details) and Britt Hainstock (Half Court Prayer). A collective spirit is found all over Intercontinental Champion and you can feel their energy and love for the music. Lead off track “500%” defines the album’s mood as it includes an enthusiastic choir, a host of hand claps, peculiar kid toy keyboards, and a string of shakers and dancing xylophones. The rest of the record incorporates these same elements but is not repetitive in the least as Boats! keeps you on your toes by throwing in manic rockers “You Have Nothing to Lose…” and “Scenic Gorges.” Other standouts include “Breakfast Combo” with its side order of shout-out-loud harmonies and trumpets. “Combo” is perfectly complemented by an endearing acoustic/drum machine duet “Classic Rock Weekend” and the heartbreaking closer “River Creek Lake.” Boats! Intercontinental Champion gives an atomic leg drop to Canada’s indie scene and is bound to be hailed as one of this year’s best. (Independent)

Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars

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