Album Review: The Boat People ‘Dear Darkly’

The Boaties have been around the Australian music scene for a while now. In this time they’ve released two very solid and perhaps under-appreciated albums. ‘Dear Darkly’, their third full length effort, is not only their most complete offering to date, but should definitely see them break into a much wider audience.

It just feels that there is something here that was lacking on their previous albums, even if I only notice it now that I’ve heard ‘Dear Darkly’. There is a greater sense of progress in the album; increased continuity. There is much less filler here, with every song offering something to the overall record.

This isn’t to say the album isn’t without its standout songs. Echo Stick Guitars, which has been played at live shows for the better part of this year, is as fun as ever when it breaks into the breakneck chorus from the restrained verses. Likewise Soporific, released a couple of months ago as a free download, is a wonderful ballad: “It would be a lonely road without you, mind”.

However it is in the deeper cuts of the record where the true treasure lies. Opener Under The Ocean, which the boys broke out last week for Triple J’s Like A Version segment, is the perfect first track and sets up the rest of the album beautifully.

My favourite song on the album, Antidote, is quite simply a stunning track. “I believe in love, and all the crazy stuff… recently I’ve found that when I’m not around, life keeps going on… you’re everything to escape myself, you’re the antidote to an ugly world”. All the trademark Boaties style and charm is here, but it’s somehow just more refined, and their sound really benefits from this increased confidence.

The album doesn’t fade out towards the end either, thanks to the great Damn Defensive and the brilliant closer of You Are Adored which, clocking in at just over six minutes, is also the longest track on the record.

I’ve really enjoyed The Boat People’s first two albums, but ‘Dear Darkly’ really is a step up. This is a legitimately great record that stands out among the best Australian releases of the year so far. It manages to somehow seem professional and polished but yet maintain all of the Boaties trademark charm and fun, and for this it should be an album that makes it into the album collection of every Aussie music fan.

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