Boats Intercontinental Champion

The first thing that strikes you about Intercontinental Champion is songwriter Mat Klachefsky's absurd voice. To call it shrill would be a massive understatement; it stands somewhere between Danielson's Dan Smith and an oft-used kazoo. It takes some getting used to but even after multiple listens I'd be lying if I said I was completely at peace with it. But there's not much Klachefsky can do about it besides tone it down a little. With regards to the album, he and his band-mates succeed in crafting a batch of unassuming, deceptively simple power pop songs that don't compromise maturity for the sake of playfulness. Value Village keyboards, distortion pedals and frolicsome lyrics all add to the fun on what is a solid debut that delivers no more than what it promises at the outset: a breezy, enjoyable listen. (Independent)