Revivalism. I feel like pre-2000 we didn’t have nearly the amount of revivalism that we have these days. If you’re a rock band that’s not using samplers, then there’s a good chance your reviving something, whether it’s the psych pop of the 60s, the soft rock of the 70s, the synth pop of the 80s, or the lo-fi scrappiness of the early 90s or any other myriad of genres solidly grounded in a decade that’s not the one we live in. This week’s band is all about the mid-90s with Pavement being the chief inspiration though there’s definitely some Built to Spill in there as well. The band of the week is…
Fuck, they’re even from Seattle, how 90s is that? Not really that much these days, actually, with Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes also calling the city home, but the band’s messy guitars and college slacker vocals (not to mention an opener track titled “Friends Since 1989”) leave no question as to what (and when) these guys are all about. Lyrically, sometime it seems like they’re actually singing about something (“We’ve been friends since 1989/You can’t believe it and neither can I”) and sometimes not so much (“Sit right down, right round the table/drink some down, drink what you’re able”).
Truth be told, a lot of revivalists seem to actually improve on the music they’re reviving. I mean, I’d choose Dungen any day over most of the obscure psych records they’re inspired by. She and Him manage to make the most out of 70s soft rock, most of which was ridiculously boring and overproduced. I like Neon Indian’s Psychic Chasms more than anything that ever came out of the 80s. It’s likely because years after the fact, once an a band and a sound can be looked upon removed from then-contemporary tastes and trends, its enduring qualities can be identified and exploited. BOAT do exactly that in reviving what they do. And though their last album, Setting The Paces, may not be as good Slanted and Enchanted or Keep It Like A Secret, but BOAT merges and pays homage beautifully to the sound those albums invented and/or perfected, and they do so with a wealth of charm, self-awareness and great hooks. And that’s more than good enough for me.