Yacht - See Mystery Lights

Listen to Yacht - Psychic City

YACHT is a band, originally begun by Jona Bechtolt (former member of The Blow) and as of last year including new member Claire L. Evans (also a writer on science / science fiction and an artist), as well as a "belief system and business", according to their Mission Statement. They also have an affinity for triangles and a variety of religions, as evidenced in their Tumblr. As much shtick as their nearly spiritual/paranormal presentation may appear at first glance, it certainly is a part of See Mystery Lights, the forthcoming Yacht release, due out July 28th on DFA Records.

The title See Mystery Lights was named after the curious Marfa light phenomenon that occurs in Marfa, Texas, where they were writing and recording tracks. While the album kicks off with two belief statements, "Ring the Bell" (with lyrics like "I grew up with fear in my heart" and "Will we go to heaven or will we go to hell? It's my understanding that neither are real") and "The Afterlife" ("Death is not the end of this song..."), oddly enough, their sentiments merge with the music and aren't overbearing.

With this being almost a concept album and with a tighter framework to cast the material in, this is easily the best project Bechtolt has been involved with; his quirky, tuneful arrangement and beat-making abilities have even more to be said for them than in his previous release I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real, and are particularly distinct from his work in the Blow, and Evans' vocals are a welcome, natural-sounding accompaniment. "I'm in Love With a Ripper" strikes the ears like a neo-Art of Noise track, with some oddball vocal effects and some Auto-Tune-ish activity going on. "It's Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want" is nearly 9 minutes long, with two songs unnecessarily tied together that would have worked better unhinged.

"Psychic City" is a reworking of "Voodoo City", a track by Rich Jensen from 1987 cassette release Two Million Years (you can read more on the song's background here), from an avant-garde obscurity to a summery, though still odd, prime single choice. And speaking of summer..."Summer Song"(see video below) is up next, which preceded the album last year as a sort of tribute single to LCD Soundsystem, who they had toured with previously- this prompted DFA to put out the Summer Song EP in 2008 and sign Yacht for an album release!

"We Have All We Ever Wanted" returns to the art-pop aesthetics hinted at earlier on, and could be taken as simultaneously anti-Internet and pro-Internet, with lines like "Protect your eyes / Be careful with the downloading" and "Protect yourself from digital decay" on the one hand, and anthemic chants about how everything is now available at once because of technology on the other. "Don't Fight the Darkness" breezes by with shuffling beats and the repeated refrain "Don't fight the darkness / Bring the light / And darkness (Will disappear)", also referenced on their Muxtape page. The party mix of "I'm in Love With a Ripper" dilutes some of the original's quality, but serves its purpose for clubiness. The version of "Psychic City" that closes the album is more closely approximated to Rich Jensen's original, lo-fi and with "HOOAH"s!

See Mystery Lights is as interesting as it is enjoyable, as their press release sums up perfectly: "The true beauty...is that one can choose to dive down YACHT's rabbit hole and search for answers -- or just as easily ignore their cryptic motifs and enjoy See Mystery Lights for the adventurous and innovative avant-pop album that it is."

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