For an American duo that describes itself as “…not a cult, YACHT is a band, belief system and business…” you might think they’re a couple of arrogant weirdos. At least that’s what I thought.
Despite this presumption I pop on Shangri-La during the hottest day of 2011 so far, and the opening of the first track ‘Utopia’ reminds me of the summery upbeat acoustic riffs of Vampire Weekend that fit so well with a tasty BBQ. Immediately I’m feeling all the more optimistic about this album.
Song two ‘Dystopia’ couldn’t be more different. Claire Evans’ voice bellows out above a low 80s synth combining in what might be an influence from The Knife. Track three I ‘Walked Alone is’ an edgy pop track that any boyband would die for. Yet there’s something wonderfully witty about it, as if it’s not taking itself too seriously. This combined with woodblock thuds in the background give it edge, and the addition of the dodgy amateur guitar solo makes it almost comical, yet charming.
The synth returns for disappointing slow song after the strong previous two. ‘Love In The Dark’ contains the lyrics, “I love you like a ticking clock” which is a bit unfortunate, only highlighting how the song is dragging on a bit, eager to move onto ‘One Step’, another poppy and catchy number.
My favourite track ‘Holy Roller’ feels like a parody of this year’s chart with a few bars of echo, electro bassline and a dash of autotune that T-Pain would be proud of. The next two tracks go a little downhill with repetitive tracks ‘Paradise Engineering’ and ‘Tripped And Fell In Love’, which is too long at 7mins 10 and creates an uncomfortable irony with the mis-match between the soppy title and the heavy monotonous yet hypnotic beat.
YACHT bring it back for the title track and final song ‘Shangri-La’ and placing this song at the end of the album leaves you with a mainstream catchiness comparable with Owl City, singing the repetative refrain “Shangri-la la la la la la”; you won’t be forgetting the name of the album anytime soon! Overall the album has such a diversity that makes sure that if you don’t like one song, you’ll definitely like one of the others. Lacking in creativity they are not; a top summer album for sure.
Released on 27th June 2011 by DFA Records.