ong time collaborators and joint curators of Moteer Records, Craig Tattersall and Andrew Reynolds, caused something of a stir with their second album We Made It for You—a minimalist, broken-piano inspired collection of pieces dedicated to their friends. Usually purveyors of hushed, organic electronica, the duo managed to perfectly judge the timing of their unorthodoxy to coincide with the solo piano revolution of 2005. (A genre championed by the likes of Gonzales, Hauska, Goldmund, et al.) Tomorrow Time, the third of their offerings, sees them close the lid of their adopted piano and about-turn to more familiar territory, dusting down the talents of a few old friends along the way. Back comes the familiar voice of Elaine Reynolds who featured on their debut, Songs by the Sea, along with new recruit, Craig Stewart.
The use of voice on Tomorrow Time immediately adds a warmth absent from the pristine piano of We Made It for You. Neither Reynolds nor Stewart is blessed with particularly distinctive voices but each has a certain charm that melds well with the characteristically temperate production that you’d expect from one half of the Remote Viewer. The production / vox balance is carefully maintained throughout the album; Stewart with his mournful, almost apologetic delivery allows the glitchy-acoustic accompaniment a more prominent role resulting in some of the most forthright and extroverted songs the Boats have yet produced. Reynolds in contrast, with her more assertive character, is wisely allowed to take center stage when she does feature. Sadly, it’s not nearly often enough. Tracks like ”If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?” and “Go to Sleep (Or I’ll Put You to Sleep)” are among the most memorable on the album.
Stewart’s best contribution: “Industrial Violence, Venus and Mars, When Planets Collide???” is a close rival however. Here Stewart’s naturally high register gets exploited to its full potential on lines like, “If men are from Mars / And women from Venus / Where the hell does that leave us?” which are delivered in his idiosyncratic, hangdog style.
Tomorrow Time is, in many ways, the antithesis to its predecessor; We Made It for You with its sparse instrumentation and emphasis on space, gestured hazily towards the conceptual framework of modern composition. Tomorrow Time on the other hand, embraces traditional song structure and throws reference to the lyrical, pop-aesthetic of the Morr stable and, occasionally, to the simplistic, guitar-led folktronica of Boats’ co-patriot, Xela. As opposed to the naïve-like sincerity of the song titles on WMIFY, Tomorrow Time, with the tongue-in-cheek jocularity of its song titles, reveals a new and surprising scampishness to go with The Boats’ undoubted quiescence.
Reviewed by: Paul Teasdale
Reviewed on: 2007-01-12