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Boat Dares


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Boat Dares Borscht Belt Volume 2 - Mouse Casino And The Unicorn album cover
2.18 | 3 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Where a Kid Can Be a Fish (0:38)
2. Zoom Gas (5:49)
3. Trial by Wombat (12:59)
4. Tokens for the few, Tickets for the Brave (3:16)
5. Lust & Latkes (In Lithuania) 14:16
6. Magnum's Schmagel (10:28)

Total time 47:26

Line-up / Musicians

- Sean Ahern / accordion, synthesizer
- Dylan Jarrell / drums

- Tony Gagnon / saxophone (1,6)

Releases information

Artwork: Jess Sipsmith

Digital album

Thanks to sean for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BOAT DARES Borscht Belt Volume 2 - Mouse Casino And The Unicorn ratings distribution

(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(67%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BOAT DARES Borscht Belt Volume 2 - Mouse Casino And The Unicorn reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Shortly after the Rio/Avant Prog duo known as "Boat Dares" released "Borscht Belt Volume 1" in February of 2019, they released the follow up volume in May of the same year, this time known as "Borscht Belt Volume 2: Mouse Casino and The Unicorn". The line-up remains the same with Sean Ahern playing the accordion and several other instruments and Dylan Jarrell playing the drums and he adds a new instrument to his resume, that of a Nintendo. Guest Tony Gagnon (credited as Tony Saxophony) returns supplying saxophone on 2 of the 6 tracks for this album. This volume is made up of 6 tracks and has a total time of 47 minutes.

In case you missed my review for Volume 1, the Borscht Belt (also known as the Jewish Alps) is a chain of resorts spread through the Catskill Mountains in the state of New York, that existed between 1920 and 1970. These resorts were popular with the Jewish crowd as places where they would go for recreation and entertainment, and the resorts often booked Jewish comedians and bands to entertain. Many of these resorts are closed down now, but some of the Jewish influence remains.

The music on Volume 1 was based around tradition Jewish music with occasional bursts of avant-garde noise and experimental passages pretty much all led by accordion and crazy drums, with variety thrown in with some saxophone-led passages and other interesting instruments. Some of the passages were quite long and drawn out, and the best parts were when more instruments were added in to break up the monotony of long, improvised accordion and drum passages. So, it had its high points and low points. There were also many humorous accents throughout and the titles where quite whimsical

Volume 2 starts out with a very short track called "Where a Kid Can Be a Fish". This is 38 seconds of tortured saxophone and various other noises (even featuring a Nintendo unit) blaring out at the same time. After this, a 5 minute track called "Zoom Gas" is more of a traditional Jewish style sounding track, with, you guessed it, accordion and drums, both instruments improvising at will. That strange, unidentifiable fuzzy instrument comes in halfway through, and I still haven't figured out what it is, possibly a synth or a processed accordion.

"Trail By Wombat" is a 12 minute track that begins quite atmospheric with a pensive accordion and tinkling cymbals. The accordion eventually establishes a traditional rhythm and the drums soon follow suit and we go into an improvised and moderate tune. Two different melodic lines from the accordion play along with each other as the drums continue to support without falling into any kind of pattern. The fuzzy and distorted effects join in at about the 8 minute mark and things start to sound a little more chaotic, but it is mostly kept reigned in this time. Things meander on like this through the entire track. Next is a short track at 3 minutes, called "Tokens for the Few, Tickets for the Brave". Could this be hints of a Chuck E. Cheese tie in that was questioned in the 1st volume or am I just bored? A slow tempo is established, the accordion and a low keyboard play and then more synth layers are added in sounding a bit cheap. Thank goodness this fades out without getting too far along.

"Lust and Latkes (in Lithuania)" comes sneaking along with a minimal style provided by mysterious accordion sounds and cymbals the ebb in and out. After 3 minutes, the accordion starts playing another melodic and improvised line and the drums come in a bit hesitantly at first. This track has a looser feeling to it as if the musicians aren't really sure where to go with it and they both wait for the other to do something. As it continues, it gets more intense and the fuzzy effect comes along as expected. This is a long 14 minute jam following the same formula as the previous tracks, which is starting to get a bit boring.

The last track is the 10 minute "Magnum's Schmagel". This one features the saxophone which is a welcome change of sound as it establishes itself as the lead improvisational instrument while drums and accordion support it. The only other time the sax appears on this album is the short introductory number, so it has been sorely missed up until now. You get a jazzy attitude out of the sax this time around, but it soon gets that meandering feeling that permeates most of this album. Things finally slow to an almost dirge-like beat in the last part of the track, but other than that, it has not a lot of variance.

With the hope of a little more development from this album that would venture into more experimental territory that was played with from time to time in the first volume, the 2nd volume actually moves further away from it and tends to rely on a more traditional feel. The long tracks meander along and it is easy to get tired of this sound rather quickly. In comparison to the first volume, this album seems to lack the innovative and more avant-garde feeling that the first volume touched on from time to time. It is a let down when you hear that this album just doesn't seem to have as much bravery as the first volume, so overall, it is a step backwards. This is a hard one to sit through without becoming bored and nothing comes along to save you this time around.

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