Thursday, December 31, 2009
Albums of the Year, 2009 : 8 - YACHT - See Mystery Lights
"The songs on See Mystery Lights-- from the bouncy, burbling you-can't-take-it-with-you screed "The Afterlife" (which plays like a less spastic companion piece to the Mae Shi's "Run to Your Grave") to the roller rink-ready vocoder vocals of "I'm In Love With a Ripper"-- represent YACHT at their most poppy. It's a collection of stone jams that finds the band finally as hellbent on experimenting and expanding the boundaries of its sonic scope as it is on having fun. Built on electronic foundations-- laser effects, skittering computerized beats, and spacey synth lines (or guitar riffs that have been tuned or distorted to sound like synths)-- these new songs are giddy with creative freedom while remaining tethered in service of their melodies. The vocal melodies are bright and buoyant, but delivered (by either band member, or in unison) in a chanted, oftentimes detached monotone that plays up the repetitive lyrics' mantra-like feel and adds a welcome undercurrent of slacker cool to their otherwise sugary optimism.
...while YACHT clearly share influences with (James) Murphy's gang (Eno, Ferry, Neu!, ESG, etc.), their positive, futuristic jams actually sound most closely related to Tom Tom Club. Perhaps that's because, like Tom Tom Club's first self-titled album, which was recorded in Barbados, See Mystery Lights was recorded in a sunny, faraway locale-- in this case, far from the band's native rainy Portland, Oregon, in Marfa, Texas. The vibe of the album is relaxed and sun-soaked-- especially "Psychic City (Voodoo City)", which features an elastic groove built on a dubby, reggae-ish keyboard melody inspired by the bassline of Althea and Donna's "Uptown Top Ranking"."
- Rebecca Raber, Pitchfork