"House Boat is back with their sophomore record The Thorns Of Life, and boy are they still kicking. The record is the follow up to their debut album The Delaware Octopus from 2009, and in a similar fashion, was released with next to no forewarning. The band’s first record came out before anyone even knew House Boat existed, a notably feat considering their super group status (super groups can be unsuccessful and cynical too, right?). Featuring members of The Steinways, The Ergs!, Chinese Telephones, Dear Landlord, and a handful of others, House Boat’s credentials are all but unjustified.
House Boat could easily be thrown away and dismissed as one big tongue-in-check band, which I suppose is actually true. With the Screeching Weasel parody album art, the Blake Schwarzenbach parody album title, and songs like “Throwing In Those Weird Chords Did Wonders For The Copyrights And The Dopamines (Theme From House Boat)” and “A Song In Which I Convince Myself To Stop Being Such A Fucking Idiot”, it’s hard to argue that fact, but those that try are generously rewarded for their efforts. What they’ll find is a 26-minute collection of down-and-out pop punk anthems from the perspective of an aging pessimist. That’s right, this is the brand of pop punk that’s catchy as all hell and can double as your would-be screen play turned suicide note.
For the first time in House Boat’s output they’ve included a pair of slowed down belters that really stress singer Grath’s habitually nasal harmonies. “Pityscapes” and record closer “Bug Out” stunt the mile-a-minute flow of The Thorns Of Life, albeit without any hesitation to pick up right where it left off. With The Thorns Of Life, House Boat show a real progression from both their previous output and the members collective discography (and you can trust me, it’s a lengthy list) that solidifies the band as the best unknown super group still left unturned."