BOATS at the Boat (158 Augusta), Friday (June 8), 9 pm. $10, free w/ $28 NXNE wristband. 416-593-9218. Rating: NNNNN
It's been years since Transistor Sound & Lighting Co. - arguably Winnipeg's most innovative pop band ever - played a gig or even entered the thoughts of most Canadians.
Luckily, one band is here to keep their legacy alive. Boats, led by Mat Klachefsky, sounds a lot a like Transistor: they've got the same quirky song arrangements, the same love of the drum machine and similar high-pitched vocals.
Oh, and they also share a band member.
"When Isaac Brock was looking for a new guitarist," says Klachefsky, explaining how Jason Churko, Transistor's frontman, joined Boats, "he just asked himself, 'Well, who am I ripping off the most?' That's how Johnny Marr joined up. It's basically the same story with Jay and I."
While the band does sound a lot like Transistor, even with Churko in the band they're not complete copycats. Boats is poppier, with bouncier, more conventional songs, plus they have five guys instead of two.
But really, it doesn't matter whether they sound like Transistor or not, since no one outside the 'Peg likely remembers the late-90s duo.
"And that's criminal," says Klachefsky. "It's criminal that their album isn't recognized as one of those top-whatever albums of all time."
But Boats' debut disc, Intercontinental Champion, might one day win that distinction. Every track is solid and, most importantly, memorable, which has as much to do with Klachefsky's songwriting as it does with his surprisingly high vocals. Let's just hope the guitarist can keep it together longer than his idol.
"Singing high is fun, but I'm constantly going full tilt. I'll probably be talking with one of those electronic voice boxes by the time I'm 35."