Boomkat Product Review:
A special, one-off collaborative release from the Home Normal and Flau labels, Sleepy Insect Music was conceived as an accompaniment to The Boats' tour of Japan, scheduled for May. The album spans the band's entire career, collecting unreleased tracks or hard-to-find recordings that have only cropped up on compilations or highly limited Our Small Ideas releases. The resultant hour's worth of music turns out to be a brilliantly compiled trawl through The Boats' hidden catalogue, sequencing early compositions like 'Birthdays' and 'I Did Not Sleep So Soundly' (both from 2003) alongside wonderful contemporary works. The likes of 'Understand' and the freshly reworked 'Raindrops' offer magical, otherworldly takes on the conventions of song-craft - the pattering, crackle-laden beats and eroded, lo-fi electronics finding welcome embellishment from Danny Norbury's weeping cello strokes and Chris Stewart's muffled, lowercase vocal. In addition to The Boats' own originals, an unreleased remix of the Nive song 'Louise' is thrown in. Instantly, the band seem to make the song their own, casting the Greenlandic songstress' vocal into a familiarly warm, glitching production. The already-heard entries are sourced from compilations for Flau and [parvo] art or are cuts lifted from the Stenography and Saturation, Hum And Hiss EPs. All are well worth returning to, although only the most obsessive followers of the group are likely to have the lot already - either way they're all welcome inclusion on this disc. There's abundant exclusive content here to make Sleepy Insect Music an essential addition to The Boats catalogue, and furthermore, those newer recordings featuring the freshly recruited Danny Norbury ('Veleta Two Step' and 'George Herbert Leigh Mallory' would be two more examples) hint to a great future for the group.