Formed in 1987, The Prayer Boat derived their name from an Indian festival where millions of people burn incense and candles on small reed boats (prayer boats) and float them down the River Ganges at night, carrying their wishes and prayers. The band sent a demo away to RCA in 1989 and were signed up by the end of that year. They recorded their debut album Oceanic Feeling in 1990, which was released the following year to almost universal acclaim and very little commercial success.
The all-too-familiar story almost ran its course. Band parts company with record label, never to see the lights of stage again. But no, not The Prayer Boat. Once again proving that Irish bands are made of stern stuff, the four lads packed their bags, moved to Glasgow and licked their wounds for three years before re-emerging as a brighter, fresher outfit with a renewed will to succeed. They signed a new deal in November 1994 with Almo Sounds, the new independent label formed by A&M founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. The Bury This Thing EP, produced by Dick Meaney (My Bloody Valentine, Beth Orton), followed shortly afterward. The 1995 the single Dark Green became a hit for the group, while 1996’s Saved won them the Coca-Cola’s Best Unsigned Irish Band award. 1998 saw the release of Polichinelle in Europe. The album hit the States in 2000, drawing accolades from the likes of Billboard, among others. Shortly after that, The Prayer Boat split up. Polichinelle 10th anniversary edition with 5 previously unreleased tracks was re-released in 2009 in the Benelux by Mass Market Recordings from The Netherlands.
The Prayer Boat were Emmett Tinley (vocals, guitars, piano & keyboards), Patrick Tinley (electric & Acoustic Guitar), Tony Byrne (Bass Guitar), Tim Houlihan (drums).