Oct. 9 • MOTR Pub

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Perhaps the first thing one notices upon listening to Boats is that the Canadian band works a trebly lo-fi groove and an Indie Pop lockstep that suggests a third-generation version of XTC. And the band’s odd lyrical content might become apparent relatively quickly, conjuring apparitional suggestions of Robert Pollard and Carl Newman, lyricists who have a similarly bent way of crafting densely impenetrable yet irresistibly accessible Pop songs. It’s the voice that delivers Boats’ weirdly wonderful wordplay, a keening evocation of Neko Case on a hit of helium, which juts out from the rest of the band’s sonic presentation. 

The bigger surprise might well be the fact that the voice belongs to guitarist/frontman Mat Klachefsky, who also occasionally veers in the vocal directions of Perry Farrell, Lindsey Buckingham and the previously referenced Andy Partridge.

Musically, there is a rollicking gravity that defines Boats’ Indie Pop swagger, a similar feeling but not necessarily a similar sound as their fellow Canadians in The New Pornographers. As evidenced on the band’s first two releases, 2007’s Intercontinental Champion and the just-released sophomore album Cannonballs, Cannonballs, Boats possesses the innate ability to create a sonic atmosphere that surfs the tension wave between whimsical approach and serious intent. That quality is more fully developed on Cannonballs, from the Eno-esque bedroom Pop of “Summercamp Vs. the Fake Moustache” to the Jane’s Addiction-channels-The-Strokes vibrancy of “Drinking the Lake” to the adrenalized XTC firework pinwheel of “Haircuts For Everybody!!” 

Boats have earned invitations to some of the continent’s most prestigious music festivals (SXSW, NXNE, Halifax Pop Explosion, Pop Montreal) and packed venues on their own tour stops, and the shows supporting their quirkily brilliant new album might be their best work yet. Don’t miss the Boats.

BOATS plays MOTR Pub Sunday, Oct. 9. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.

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