How did indie-pop four-piece Tugboat Captain pen a song so apt for the times A YEAR AGO?! One answer is by complete accident. Another could be witchcraft and time travel shenanigans. I’ll let you decide. Don’t let this distract you from the utter delightfulness of No Plans (For This Year); a wonderful plod through a symphony of pleasures and a dramatic change in tone from their previous lo-fi efforts.
Recorded at the forever spectacular Abbey Road, anyone familiar with the band’s previous work will notice the addition of classical instruments, which adds grandeur and allows an ascension to awe-inspiring highs. It takes the “intimate playing in the next room” vibe to orbit and lets you attend an orchestral performance in the skies. No Plans (For This Year) has a fantastical, whimsical quality to it and is genuinely the largest sound the act has ever committed to recording. I swear it belongs on an Electric Light Orchestra album.
The initial guitar and drums trick you into thinking you are riding as a passenger in an indie minivan; before the horns descend and you realise you’re actually on an indie-pop jet plane, screaming towards the heavens. The sway and swagger of the rhythm section and an eccentric vocal delivery gives the song a wonderfully laid back quality. At the same time, the lyrics state a sense of hopefulness and adorning admiration, while the chorus displays a very playful and dreamy sense of carefreeness. The exquisite lead guitar does a remarkable job of starting the amazing instrumental second half, leading into an almost baroque pop section of stellar classical piano. This is all before building and launching into a mini concerto of amusement and fancifulness. The dense texture makes this instrumental so decadent and more-ish.
No Plans (For This Year) is a stunning affair. Its orchestral backing makes for one of the most pleasing sounding records of late. Tugboat Captain have set themselves up to have plenty of plans next year and beyond, even if they are witchy time travellers. “Raise a toast to that”.