Boat Show’s debut album Groundbreaking Masterpiece is a fun, catchy and raw slap in the face of anti-patriarchal, fuzzy, garage punk. Whilst other bands do more and more in their music, Boat Show show that sometimes, doing less can be just as effective.
The band brings us back to the reason punk existed in the first place – as a voice for outsiders and a commentary on political and social issues. Their ultra-modern and literal lyrics are hugely relatable and often pretty damn funny, and that mixed with a high energy, catchy and raucous sound and a self-deprecating and modest spirit makes for a pretty good first album.
The album starts with Serious which is a short but punchy number that you can’t help but head bop away to, such is their instantly likeable crisp chords and punchy drums.
Cis White Boy sits somewhere between the more stripped back and denser songs on the album, and the outcome is really effective. The catchy riffs that are throughout the album are at their peak in this song, accompanied with the incisive high energy drumming and the spot on lyrics making it the stand out track. It’s also in Cis White Boy where the band really go to town on white male privilege.
Staying Alive follows along the same trail as Serious, in terms of ironically taking the piss out of female social expectations and the oppression of women, with the line, “I can’t even have an opinion, even though it is right” being particularly gratifying to listen to and singer Ali Flintoff’s cadenced vocals adding a feminine and dreamy touch.
Suss sees some distorted guitar added to the mix, accompanied by layered harmonies of super-catchy melodies. The vocal and guitar effects add a point of difference to the song, but the bass and drums stay true to their punk roots.
Running Away takes it down a notch to a more shoegazy zone. With Ali’s low key Australian singing coming out to shine, the song is soulful and sincere and adds some diversity to the album. The track has a feeling of nostalgia about it and it’s definitely the most pensive song on the album.
I Can’t Win goes back to straightforward pseudo punk, albeit in their self-deprecating style. It’s catchy and cool as hell. The lyrics are basic and relatable, acting as a beacon of today’s feminist zeitgeist, and this may be what makes them so unanimously well liked.
Stupid is an ironic tune about the way society judges women so harshly for doing the same things that men do. It’s a big fuck you to all the people who think women should be eloquent slaves to male expectations, especially around sex and appearance. All this is done in an expanse of melodically pleasing vocals and fuzz ridden guitar, with the clear-cut drumming that is throughout the album.
I Hate Work is back to their full throttle, fast paced punk with some psychedelic guitar effects added in for good measure. Can’t Deal works some nice time signature changes and the introduction of swirling electronic guitar adds some complexity, as does the swelling peak of all out desperate, noxious emotion and music. It’s one of the only songs on the album that truly builds and expels.
Transparent is a dreamier song which is beautifully surrendering and feels heartfelt and sincere. It allows Flintoff’s voice and vocals to shine; the high notes are particularly impressive and add a beautiful feminine and soft touch to the album.
The whole album is hugely accessible, jam-packed with hooks, melodies, harmonies and anthems to sing along to. It’s not surprising the band has only been together around six months – the album comes across shambolic, organic and not over-thought.
It is an album full of vitriolic garage punk songs which take aim at patriarchy, the lemming masses and the morally bankrupt. At times Flintoff does this with understated, half-spoken vocals and at other times she uses her extremely melodic and wide ranging voice, all to ram home that famous nonchalant and candid spirit associated with punk.
It’s a refreshing and minimalistic first album, and it leaves you excited to see what will come from the band in the future, especially how they will diversify and add colour to their sound, and who they will take aim at next. Word up – if you don’t want it to be you, start treating women with some respect, or you will have Perth’s most honest punk band to deal with.