Based out of Georgia, the Black Boats’ album Dead to Rights, is actually a soundtrack to the name of a film by the same name. The film synopsis goes like this – “After almost 25 years at Metro PD, Detective Lazlo has finally found peace within himself, a love to spend out his days with and is looking forward to quietly reaching his retirement. His hard-won comforts are placed in jeopardy when an arch criminal he locked up years ago busts out of jail and sets his sites on revenge, in the most personal of ways.”
The entire record was written, recorded and produced at Shabby Road Studios in Atlanta between 2017 and 2019 and it was mastered by Jamie King at Jamie King Audio in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Members of Black Boats include Corey Pallon on drums, Mike Perkins on bass and Chris Tuccillo on guitar. Other instruments were used as well. The band’s styles are an eclectic mix of ‘70s, instrumental and jam with both polished and live sounding productions.
“Lazio Returns” bursts through with a great raw sound, sounding much like a cross between the punkish rock styles of The Who and other ‘60s British wave bands, but there’s a streak of freshness to this group, too. Anyway, a fantastic opening number! With the “The Block” you’ll hear more of that raw, big live sound especially with how the drums were done – man, this stuff is really good! The bass is full and rich, reminding me of a cross between Jack Bruce and Cliff Burton, although with less distorted fuzz Burton was well known for. The guitar is bold and beautiful – geez, I can’t think of any more good adjectives that justify how much I’m digging this band right now. Did I mention both songs were instrumental? So, if you’re into music without singing, I think you’ll enjoy what you’re hearing.
Moving on to “The Villian” which showcases slower, syrupy beats and low, mean guitar chords. The way the music was written, and instruments played seems to me more structurally like a song that has words (verse, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.) – but again, without them. A dramatic ending wraps up this tune. Next up is “Prison Break” a fast, danceable song – more in the rock pop/post-punk style and by far the band’s shortest number. “His Sweetheart” features a gentler rhythm with an acoustic lead accompaniment. You’ll even hear some low sounding keys in the background with a tinkling melody in other parts. Overall, I really liked this one and in some way it reminded me of the Beatles’ later work.
“KIDNAPPED” thunders through with a low, brooding drum beat and a “retro” hip guitar, sounding like something from a western/film noir picture or a ‘50s greaser film featuring plenty of car races. Next, is “The Snitch” which sounds like it was actually recorded live on stage. All the instruments have an even richer, bolder sound. The trio’s style here feels like a cross between Tommy James and The Shondells and throw-back hippie druggie rock that was briefly popular in the late 20th century. Lastly comes “The Showdown” a tight, rocking number with an infectious, memorable guitar riff. Style-wise, this song has somewhat of a blues progression, perhaps like what Cream did but more like some much heavier rock groups in the ‘70s. I thought the keyboard accompaniment was extra special and added another interesting element outside the song’s main chords. Overall, this song felt like it fit the mold of the soundtrack idea the band was going for. From start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed Black Boats’ Dead to Rights and I hope to hear more from this talented trio real soon.
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