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Boat Dares biography
Founded in Portland, USA in 2017

BOAT DARES is an avant-garde instrumental duo founded in 2017 in Portland, Maine by Sean AHERN (accordion, synthesizer, marimba, bouzouki, glockenspiel) and Dylan JARRELL (drums), periodically augmented by saxophone. The duo plays improvisational music that melds elements of chamber rock, jazz, klezmer, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern folk, krautrock, and others into it's own, unique, noisy, adventurous sound, recommended for fans of bands like MASADA, SECRET CHIEFS 3, and SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA.

They've released two albums to date, "Night On Balding Mountain" (2018) and "Borscht Belt Volume 1: Ode To Pasqually" (2019).

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BOAT DARES discography

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BOAT DARES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 2 ratings
Borscht Belt Volume 1 - Ode To Pasqually
2.18 | 3 ratings
Borscht Belt Volume 2 - Mouse Casino And The Unicorn

BOAT DARES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Night on Balding Mountain

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BOAT DARES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Borscht Belt Volume 2 - Mouse Casino And The Unicorn by BOAT DARES album cover Studio Album, 2019
2.18 | 3 ratings

Borscht Belt Volume 2 - Mouse Casino And The Unicorn
Boat Dares RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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.

 Borscht Belt Volume 1 - Ode To Pasqually by BOAT DARES album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.05 | 2 ratings

Borscht Belt Volume 1 - Ode To Pasqually
Boat Dares RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars "Boat Dares" is a RIO/Avant Prog band from Portland, Maine. The band consists of a duo and was formed by them in 2017 and since then have released three albums. The duo consists of Sean Ahern on accordion, synthesizer, marimba, bouzouki, glockenspiel and various other instruments; and Dylan Jarrell on drums. They have also enlisted Tony Gagnon who occasionally furnishes some saxophone.

This review concerns the album released in February of 2019 called "Borscht Belt Volume 1: Ode to Pasqually". The 2nd volume of this series was released in May of 2019. Volume 1 consists of 7 tracks, 5 of which are long and 2 of which are very short. The music is mostly improvised and can be quite quirky and crazy.

In case you didn't know, the Borscht Belt, otherwise known as the Jewish Alps, was a nickname for a chain of summer resorts that were popular in the Catskills in New York between the 1920s and 1970s. The resorts hosted a lot of Jewish entertainers. Many of the resorts have closed, but the Jewish influence is still present and some of the resorts are still operating. Pasqually can be either one of two things: it is either Martinez de Pasqually, the originator of the philosophy called "Martinism" or the animatronic character called Pasqually from Chuck E. Cheese. My guess is the former, but then, Part Two of this series refers to a mouse, so who knows.

The album starts with "Pickles & Pierogies (In the Privy)". We start off with a mysterious subdued drone and a fuzzy accordion supported by rumbling cymbals. Soon the accordion slips into a polka sounding melody with an echo effect. The drum starts to warm up to the rhythm, but comes in a bit hesitantly like it's not sure where this is going yet. Finally after about 5 minutes of this, the sound gets brassy and fuzzier and the percussion has pretty much figured it will just go where it wants, but the main melody has pretty much kept the same rhythm, but morphed to a mid-Eastern style. This drags on for over 7 minutes total.

"Large Government, Small Fries" begins with the drums establishing a rhythm and the accordion comes along to take advantage of it, huffing along. It would be easy for the drums to just fall into a basic rhythm, but it doesn't. It embellishes the accordion with crazy riffs and fills while the accordion continues to improvise. About halfway through, the sax comes squealing in and takes over the improvisation while the accordion and drums support it. Tooting and honking along, the tempo fluctuates, speeding up and slowing down while the sax drives everything along with crazy melodies and riffs. That fuzzy sounding instrument (I can't quite place what it is) starts to do counter improvisation with the sax and things get a bit chaotic when things slow down quite a bit and the accordion almost becomes drone-like as the sax churns out a slower melody with more sustained notes and a few flourishes. After that, things chug along to the finish at over 10 minutes total.

A short ditty called "A Mouse Without a Home" follows performed by a synth and a fuzzy effect playing a stately theme. A 12 minute track called "There Might Be Ghouls in There" follows. An accordion announces the beginning, the drums come in and synths and glockenspiel follow along. The main improvisation changes from one instrument to another. The speed picks up slowly, as in a the traditional Jewish dance style. The instruments starting swirling crazily along and the drums pound along striving to keep from going into any kind of established pattern. After 7 minutes, the drums drop out as the fuzzy synths pull everything along slowly, then the drums come back with a much slower rhythm. The Jewish influences continue through this track as they do through most of the track, and soon you hear the rhythm pick up tempo again.

The next track is mostly drums and accordion improvising along in a track called "This Ain't Spaghetti". This pretty much meanders along at a moderate tempo for almost 7 minutes. During the last minute, things suddenly go completely out of control as the drums go crazy. A short, crazy mish mash of sounds led by a tortured sax follows called "Damn the Fish". The last track nears 10 minutes and is named "The Wizard Needs Ingredients". This one uses the sax as the main improvisational instrument again and it is supported by synths, accordion and drums. This one strays around with varying tempos and styles, just having fun with never really settling on anything. What you come up with is a strange avant-garde Jewish Jazz or something. It's actually pretty cool and the sax gets pretty crazy as other instruments come in to try to take over. Things quickly slow to a standstill during the last minute of the track.

This is definitely an interesting album, all instrumental, with the accordion being the main instrument most of the time, except for when the saxophone is utilized. In the tracks where only the accordion and drums are used, things can get a bit long winded and hard to sit through, but when other instruments are utilized and added in to the core sound, it gets much better. As per the title of the album, this music is very much influenced by traditional Jewish music, and that is mostly what you will hear. But be warned that things can also get quite chaotic and crazy at times, which is why this is considered Avant-prog. There is a bit of experimentalism and a lot of improvisation, and a few times this tends to meander along, but at other times, it really pays off. No doubt there is a lot of humor thrown in to the music and that is reflected by the amusing track titles. I am quite impressed with the level of ingenuity here, but turned off a bit by the long, meandering sections. The best parts are when more instruments are brought in and things venture to the more avant-prog side of things. I would probably have to go with 3 stars here however, it is a good effort, but not quite an excellent effort. I will be looking forward to hearing Part Two to see where the music goes from here.

Thanks to sean for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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