YACHTmake the kind of slightly crazed pop that's guaranteed you put you in a good mood, no matter how you're feeling. “Shangri-La” sees YACHT take the sound of their 2008 album “See Mystery Lights”, and refine it into something that's more exciting, and infinitely more weird. In “Shangri-La”, YACHT distill their own brand of wackyness into a 10 track meditation on Utopia and the philosophy surrounding it. Or do they? One of the best things about this album is that it manages to retain its upbeat pop feeling, whilst making you wonder exactly what it is they're talking about.
“Shangri-La” launches with Utopia's relentless bass and cow bell, and let's face it - nothing galvanises a song quite like some good cow bell action. Pretty much all the songs on the album have basslines to make you jig, and when they're acccompanied by the slightly out of sync girl vs boy singing, it's supreme. If this is what Utopia is, I want in.
Continuing the theme through the album are YACHT's curious, poignant lyrics. Sure the music is as playful as it gets, but there are times when the lyrics seems darker and more honest – “we let our children multiply because we're afraid of dying” from “Dystopia The Eart Is On Fire”, and the oh-so-relatable “we grow love in the dark and in daylight it dies, but everything is born again and born again”. YACHT definitely have a philosophy all of their very own, and they’re taking me with them. There's something weirdly comforting in hearing words like “we will not grow old, we will just grow newer”. Don't let the philosophical lyrics make you think this is all serious reflection though. Any band that can sing “let the motherfucker burn” with the kind of gleeful abandon that YACHT's Claire L. Evans injects into her voice is a band that deserve your total respect.
I can't honestly claim that any song on this album is bad. Of course, there will always be some songs that stand out more than others, for example “Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)”, and “Paradise Engineering”, which is undoubtedly YACHT's ode to LCD Soundsystem. Other noteworthy songs include “Beam Me Up”, which has Evans defiantly screaming “Burn burn burn” in her best riot grrl voice. On “Shangri-La”, YACHT have avoided the niggling curse of the filler song. Every track here has earned its place, and contributes to the album as a whole.
It’s refreshing to hear something based around such a core inventive concept, and one that doesn’t reference lost love or heartbreak every half minute. This is an album to lift you out of the dark places, and remind you of the cyclical nature of life. Could any other band make the end of the world sound quite so great?