By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Lest you think their dreamy '70s were devoid of Weathermen, Watergate, Jonestown, or snow blindness, the Boards' follow-up Geogaddi was more like a paranoid fever dream. Then, ensconced in their bunkers/studios and still eerily obsessed with the Branch Davidians, the Boards withdrew, became occult themselves, seldom heard from for three-plus years, save for scant remixes: Beck's "Broken Drum" was macerated for greater melancholia, while the noxious cLOUDDEAD voices made you pray for more Leslie Nielsen samples.
There are no voices (subliminal or speak 'n' spell) to be heard on The Campfire Headphase, the long-incubated third album. BOC's dread and darkness have burned off to reveal just a mild afternoon. And that theirs is a real brotherhood. Rather than stockpiling arms, the Boards brothers were only bearing guitars. Their ever present lo-fi lovability is now tethered to simple, jangly indie-rock lines. A clean Tortoise tone rings over the outdated downtempo preset on "Hey Saturday Sun," while "Satellite Anthem Icarus" is as placid as its palette of nylon strings and incoming tides.
"Dayvan Cowboy" could've been the most interesting use of a reverberating guitar had not the Duane Eddytronica of Isolee's Wearemonster (a/k/a the best techno album of 2005) already beaten them to the punch. Further in, "Slow This Bird Down" chops and screws the Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom sound bed, but the album erodes from there, signaling not so much a sonic refinement as a childish regression.