“Oh, you don’t want to know how lonely I’ve been / Since you walked out of my life / Now there’s static on the radio / And I’m blinded by the light.”
As we kick off another year of “all things Canadian music,” it seems we have a pattern of emerging from the holiday break with some fresh legs – muscles stretched and raring to go after devoting so much time to the year-end recaps – and eager to premiere new music out into the world.
A quick skim back through the early 2023 GDW archives supports this notion. We do indeed have a history of debuting new music in January – taking great pleasure last year to share Emm Gryner’s music video for her tune “Burn the Boats,” and kicking off an eighties yacht rock renaissance in the process.
Fast forward back to the here and now, and we’re bursting straight out of the gates still consumed by this retro yacht rock flair. And if, like us, you’re reluctant to return from this eighties-era throwback theme so soon, well, fear not – we have the perfect prescription here today to help you get your fix.
Toronto-based artists Tristan Armstrong (The Actual Goners) and Ryan Farley (Oscar Tango) have been featured on our pages several times over the years – and have always demonstrated their passions for synth-driven eighties rock music. Both artists frequently contributed to one another’s projects, before teaming up under the name “The Boathouse” to share their debut single “Pink Sun” last spring. “Leave It Behind” is their second single, and one that we are excited to premiere here at GDW today.
Recorded at Lincoln County Sound in Toronto, Tristan (lead vocals/bass) and Ryan (guitar/vocals) are joined by keyboardist/vocalist Vincent Spilchuk (Bedouin Soundclash) and drummer Josh Trager (Sam Roberts Band), whose collective sound transports the listener on a time-travel adventure once more. Mixed by Carlin Nicholson (Zeus) at Pineship Sound and mastered by Reuben Ghose (MONOWHALES) at Mojito Mastering, unlike Emm Gryner’s Steely Dan-meets-SoCal variety of yacht rock, The Boathouse offer an edginess to their interpretation – leaning more towards Hall & Oates-meets-Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice.
Their glossy vocal harmonies, powerful arrangements, and memorable choruses are reminiscent of those early eighties’ soundtracks, at least until the craftily placed phrasing of a 1992 [Buick] Reatta – the first subtle hint of leaping towards ‘The X-Files’ generation. “The lyrics are written from the perspective of a heartbroken and lonely paranormal investigator,” the band share. “After receiving reports regarding suspicious and seemingly unexplainable activities, [he] makes his way to the location in a two-seat imported sports car in the hopes of witnessing these activities firsthand … his psychological state deteriorates as he attempts to carry on [in] a world that no longer makes sense.”
Listeners are cordially invited to buckle up behind the wheel of that rare Buick two-seater and rotate the loud dial clockwise on the cassette deck as this retro jam plays out. And how about those era-appropriate sounds? “The band came up with the interlocking guitar and DX7 keyboard parts in the opening bars and built the arrangement up from there,” the band adds. “The smoothest instrumental tones the band could summon were added to the solo section and some psychedelic echoes were added to the final vocal fade out.”