Tied in Knots is Drunken Boat’s 4th album. The band refreshingly avoid the usual string of ridiculous hyperboles used to describe acts these days preferring to regard themselves as “an alternative, rocky, sloppy, folky, noisy band from Dublin”. In my book that’s a good start already. So, what of the music then? Opening track “Breath” slopes in with all the down tempo chunky electric riffing of vintage Neil Young, the lyrics are suitably Young too – evoking images of the great wide open American countryside – complete with white water and tall pine trees – “there’s a river out on the rocks – you can hear it’s voice on the breeze”. The song is instantly captivating and a clever choice as an album opener. Smart use of layered vocals and some well positioned lead guitar playing add texture and depth – the band sounds great as the track sweeps by. The music compliments the lyrical content of the song throughout – emphasising space, width and vastness. A fantastic outro section brings the song to a gloriously epic finale. Great stuff. “Think of Me” has a much more up-tempo indie rock feel and this contrast with track one works well. I’m betting the song would go down a treat on an alternative/indie club’s dance floor. Third track “Remember” has got some excellent guitar playing and drifts by beautifully – it closes with another superb extended outro. “All my life” sees a return of the Neil Young vibe with grainy distortion on the guitars only more country this time featuring some violin. Track 5, “Darling” is more of a jangly affair but weaker than its predecessors, hinting at some of The Pixies softer moments until an ill advised guitar break interrupts. Next up is “Lasso”, a laid back jaunt at first but with some nice full-sounding guitars and excellently played bass guitar coming to the fore as the song pushes towards its end. “Santiago” features some more terrific bass playing on the intro and the song possesses a great momentum – with a touch of 60′s Psychedelia thrown in for good measure. The vocal execution isn’t perfect but musically this track has got it going on big-time and for me is one of the standout numbers on the album. Track 8 “Indian Summer” is a breezy, easy-going affair, nicely produced and simplistic with some tasteful atmospherics from the guitars before a violin-led outro fades out gently. After “Indian Summer’s” dream like ending “Natural State” is a perfectly timed piece of uptempo rocking, the bass and drums driving the track onwards. Closing track “Talking Heads” sounds nothing like David Byrne & Co. and it comes up a little short as an album finisher but by now it’s very much a case of job done for “The Boat”. The band sound real throughout the album – and bloody good too – any slight imperfections actually likely to endear the band to the listener even more. In these days of auto-tune and computerised precision its refreshing to hear a band emerge from the studio with a real live-sounding piece of music and something not doctored to perfection. If this is what “alternative, rocky, sloppy, folky, noisy” sound’s like can we have a section for this in record shops please? Preferably at the other end of the shop from wherever DJ Joe Bloggs FEAT. Auto Tune hangs out.