By The Boy Tate
Well, thanks, Dave. 12 tracks, a terrible band name and an even worse title. I cursed the day the editor was born, reached for my trusty Star Trek phaser and set it to "snore". This CD was to be a test of real endurance... But, as Soap said in Lock Stock, "assumption is the brother of all f#ck-ups". This sonic offering proved to be of exceptional quality.
Just who are The Boy Tate? Simon and Garfunkle, Crowded House, The Bluetones? They are as emotive and classic as any of the above. From the genuinely moving opening song, "The other way Round", their debut album will impress the harshest of critics.
The lead vocal quickly seduces the listener with its beautiful high key and this could be the voice of a teenage prodigy. But such youth could not possibly possess the delicate balance between fragility and power shown here (listen to the opening a capella to "Benign"). Another voice takes lead on several songs on the album and, while not as naturally gifted as his band mate, the more baritone, earthy vocal makes a refreshing change.
Lyrically, one might assume they are all bland tales of love lost and found - an unfortunate side effect of such attention-absorbing melodic strength. However some hint at a darker subtext, with "The Convenient Now" sharing the sentiments of REM's "The One I Love".
In fairness, they could be criticised for being too middle-of-the-road, inoffensive, or sickly sweet. Definitely something your mother would enjoy playing on her cheap Alba stereo. While it hardly pushes the boundaries of musical exploration, why bother when you are this good?
The Boy Tate's sound is fresh, modern day folk music; crafted song writing with luscious, Irish-influenced vocal harmonies. If there is any justice at all in the music industry, they will be appearing on the Jools Holland show by the end of the year.