Nasally vocals aside, A Fairway Full of Miners is a brilliant amalgam of late-20th century musical technologies. The album’s sound is very much “of this decade” but Boats’ exquisite instrumentation deserves a parade and an honorary doctorate – modern-sounding synthesizers mingle with jangly guitars, bit-crushed glitches and chiptune warbles while live drums share their duties with 808 drum machines and glitch-noise and the bass guitar plunks away with stiff sobriety, keeping everything else from falling apart. There’s not a song on here that succeeds based on its melody alone, but damn it, can Klachefsky and company arrange an enticing track. For instance, the 8-bit bass pads, Moog-cookbook-trombones and sunny glockenspiels that round out “Animated GIFS” (listen below) sharply contrast the vaguely foreboding lyrics, and the moody theremin in “Advice on Bioluminescent Bears” somehow fits within the greater conceit of ursine sorrow (I’m still trying to figure out exactly how, but trust me, it does).
The lyrics throughout are frequently indecipherable but deal earnestly with the stresses of growing up, losing friends, losing interest and fantasizing about having a greater purpose. It’s a very easy album to feel connected to, particularly if you are an enthusiast of late 20th century musical technologies. Even if self-important, experimental pop music isn’t your thing, you’ll dig A Fairway Full of Miners.
By John Julius
[bandcamp track=2495796168 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=f65e37 size=venti]AB, Alberta