House Boat release "The Delaware Octopus"

Categories: CD Review
Take one part Dear Landlord (Zack Gontard, also in Twin Cities punk band Off With Their Heads), one part Ergs! (Mike Yannich), and two parts Steinways (Grath Madden and Azeem Sajid), and blend. What you get is House Boat, another Minneapolis-affiliated supergroup with flavors from all of the above mentioned bands.

Over the 13 songs of their debut, The Delaware Octopus, lead vocalist Madden laments his lot in life: being 30 years old, alone, and back in school. It's high energy pop punk with strong '90s leanings, utilizing three-chord arrangements, and frequent harmonizing that is reminiscent of the Teen Idols. Musically, it's saccharine, but with a melancholic woe to lyrics like "There's something I'm clinging to/ but it's not hope/ because there is no hope."

Madden's nasal delivery comes across as a whine that gives the record a heavy-handed feel as he contemplates his life choices. However, the record isn't merely a journal entry about Madden's sorrows, but instead is self-aware and unapologetic as, to close "Dumbmarket Travesty," he proclaims, "I'm just an adolescent retard in disguise...[but]...I wrote this story so I know how it ends." Gontard occasionally takes over vocal duties, and when he does it immediately brings Dear Landlord to mind. His gruff voice is a welcome contrast, bringing a more world-weary tone to the album's recurring pessimism.


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