Boards of Canada are a peculiar phenomenon. They put out one of the best records of the 90s with their stunning classic Music Has A Rights To Children. It was perfect; a masterpiece; a wholly new sound, that to this day remains mostly all their own. The album spoke to a generation. And yet as deeply in command of their craft as they clear were in making it, one has to wonder how they've failed to continue to innovate and inspire in the way that they did with that recording. Yes, they did put out more albums, Geogaddi and Campfire Headphase are names that come to mind when I think back to the band, but neither of these impressed the way Music did.
<p>Boards Of Canada went silent in 2006 and I personally thought they were gone for good, but they have recently resurfaced with Tomorrow's Harvest. The marketing may have been the most creative aspect of this album – they did manage to create quite a bit of hype and excitement leading up to the album but now that it's here, the question is: should they have stayed in retirement? Did the seeds the band sowed to produce Tomorrow's Harvest produce a crop worth reaping? </p> <p>The album is certainly gorgeous, and slick, and an enjoyable listen, but really there's nothing I can find that wasn't already done, and done better by Boards of Canada themselves way back in their 90s heyday. The sound is eerily similar to Music Has A Right To Children – vintage synth lines that sound lifted straight from an education film, ghostly voices that emerge from the gloom, numbers station spookiness, it's all the same stuff fans were already well familiar with from the band's previous output. </p> <p>Why is the duo content to rehash their past? If this was album had been released as a series of bonus track outtakes for a Music Has A Right To Children reissue, fans would be pleasantly surprised. But as a new album some fifteen years later? It's a bit baffling.</p> <p>Admittedly, there's something a bit fascinating about their consistency and their hermetically sealed aesthetic; the band had a truly unique sound at the time, and to this day that sonic territory remains almost entirely their own – although yes now there are at least a handful of artists that mine vaguely similar territory – Actress and Pye Corner Audio spring to mind. </p> <p>Tomorrow's Harvest is certainly a fine, well-constructed album, if you're looking for more of the same thing you loved on Music HAs A Right To Children, you won't be disappointed. But if you're looking for artistic growth and a fresh perspective from the group some 15 years later, you'll find yourself a bit disappointed. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder if getting back in the game with a look back at their own past – perhaps the album would have been more aptly named Yesteryear's Harvest – isn't an indication that the band may return with a followup that <em>does</em> begin to look towards the future. </p>