Review Summary: Stand up and sing.
Sacramento’s I Can See Mountains have released one of the best feel-good albums of the year so far. In a relatively short amount of time, the band’s debut EP I Hope You Never Get It garnered them a lot of fans, but this time around, they’re more polished and more focused, and it definitely pays off.
Album opener “One Mirror, Two Bodies” wastes absolutely no time in throwing the listener straight into the fun and the band’s joining of indie rock and pop-punk is something to be celebrated - it’s what makes the album exactly what it is, meaning Life On A Houseboat is an incredibly captivating listen. The album is absolutely infectious – the gang chants of “Flood the boat!” and “I’ve been having such such evil thoughts!” from the title track will have you shouting along, and the band’s use of different singers means nothing ever gets boring. They have a penchant for exciting melodies throughout and the hooks alone may score the band a place on several critics’ end-of-year lists. The emo influences shine through too, as the spoken word at various points on the album (though especially at the start of finale “The Tigers Have Found Me And I Do Not Care”) wouldn’t be out of place on a Midwest Pen Pals or a Merchant Ships record.
The most admirable aspect of I Can See Mountains is that they’re always honest and never stubbornly pretending to be something they’re not. The stories the band tells are of the awkward experiences of growing up and in just under forty minutes, they capture everything – the feelings of heartbreak, joy and regret, to name a few. “Glory” is a definite highlight too, though some may find lyrics such as “I want to watch indie movies with you” to be more cringe-worthy and lazy than admirable. Production-wise as well, Life On A Houseboat is fantastic. Though it has a DIY feel to it, everything sounds great. The choruses are absolutely huge and the melodies ring out clearly on top of the accompaniment.
Life On A Houseboat is an album that deserves your full attention. Forget A History Of Bad Decisions and What You Don’t See, Buffalo’s I Can See Mountains offer one of the genre’s best and most memorable in recent years. If Life On A Houseboat is what the band are capable of after being together only a few years, then who knows where they’ll be in the future?