Electronic Indie Pop

Yacht – See Mystery Lights // NMMREM XXI

Spelled “Yacht” but pronounced “Throatwobbler mangrove”


This blog is really based on free download releases. But since lots of people are in the false impression that free download releases are shitty, and major record label releases are better. Exception confirms the rule. This time as a review there is an actual cd-release (ooh!). An album that I randomly bought from Norway in 2011.

The album in question is Yacht, a duo from Portland, Oregon and their 3rd full length See Mystery Lights released in 2009. I bought it cause it was cheap, but also the artwork was nicely minimalistic. Only later noted that it actually reflects light when looking at a right angle forming bigger and smaller triangles! Extremely cool.
I really had some hopes of this album after digesting the cover arts. Yacht also has a huge amount of listens in Last.fm (3,5 Million) and all of the tracks of the album in question have over 50 listens last week. But Yacht’s See Mystery Lights is a mostly an annoying release. First time I lasted only 2 songs before the reek of trendy indie hipsters became overwhelming. Some 5 more times I urged myself to last the whole album because at least, it is varied and experimental enough to keep me well awake at work.

Album kicks off with a fine build up and a cool odd guitar melody, but unfortunately it proves to be the best melody of the album. The first song Ring the Bell does transform and could go to places but semi-annoying vocals and a stupid chorus keep it on the ground. I hope you go to hell.
Next track The Afterlife introduces the female vocals. I do not digest them; at all. In fact the vocals ruin the ok sounding backgrounds. The singer sounds like a cheap bootleg version of Finnish-American singer Vuk; but fails.

The third track I’m in love with a ripper puts in a steady and cool beat, effing up the second most promising track start. Only to become fucking annoying at 18 second mark with the terrible shout background effect. While I approve experimentations with vocal samples more than anyone, this is just not a beat/sample combo that anyone should put on repeat. Sounds like humour music but its not funny. It sounds very juvenile. But hey, the kids may dig it…

The album does have more cool ideas and odd breaks, but even more ideas that have a reek of indie hipster pseudo-intelligent oddness in them. Also very annoying vocal melodies and god-idiotic lyrics. For example Psychic City which does not really seem to go anywhere. It is really a shame cause the lyrics sound interesting for a few verses. Then it goes idiotic. Have you ever heard a humming melody “aai-aai-ai-aa” so without emotion and colour? No I am wrong it has colour. It is SHIT-BROWN, one of the most annoying vocal melodies I’ve ever heard.

I’ve spotted multiple comments of this being a “fun” release. What exactly is the fun of this. Tracks are not dancable, their lyrics are at best average, and usually sub-par + cheesy. The funnest song is probably Summer Song which cannot have been made seriously. The track has a sense of irony in it, as it is probably the darkest track on the release. The lyrics urge: “move your feet to the summer song” and it is absolutely not-danceable. The band makes sure of it by dullifying the rhythm when it seems to become danceable. I’m not sure if its intentional but it is pretty funny.

The only decent showing of the female vocals come in the minimalistic and short version of Psychic City, where she sounds actually good in a noir-bluesy way. Probably cause in this track she is actually forced to sing in her own voice and not trying to sound cool amidst compositions that should not exist.

Third of the three tracks that don’t make me want to tear out my hair is the combo track It’s Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want. And it really is repetitive and quite boring, but it at least has a post punk vibe and decent vocals. It might be a homage to old Killing joke, which usually is pretty damn boring. But a lot better than Yacht, thank god.

The sounds are actually solid and lots of random odd and stupid ideas are thrown into songs. You can hear that a lot of creative effort has been put on See Mystery Lights. But overall; I really don’t get the point. If I wanted to dance, this record would make me sit down. If I want to listen music I prefer not to get fucking annoyed by it. To summarize i’ll quote Yacht’s song We Have All We’ve Ever Wanted:
“I don’t know so I ignore you”.

“Protect yourself from digital decay”.


1/10

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Lauren Bousfield – Locked Into Phantasy // NMMREM XVII

One of the releases I’ve been most anticipating this year is here, Lauren Bousfield’s Locked Into Phantasy, actually released in 2012. I expected it to come with the name Nero’s Day At Disneyland, thus the delay. Pecularily former Mr. Brock Bousfield of Nero’s Day At Disneyland seems to have had a sex-change operation into Miss Lauren Bousfield.

Taking away that Lauren is a multisex name, Locked Into Phantasy still sounds very feminine. It also sounds more “artistic” than Bousfields’ previous releases and features a lot of female vocals. Last.fm user CupOfSquirrels put it best in last.fm “it (Nero’s Day At Disneyland) ultimately felt like a guy pissing about on a synth”. I usually try to stay as far as possible from Urolagnia, but I personally loved the way Nero’s Day At Disneyland “pisses about on a synth”.

Bousfield has moved on to a logical direction and further lessened the breakcore elements on this album. “Locked Into Phantasy” is mainly just odd electronic indie pop. Melodies are similar to old releases of Nero, but where is the beat! I do not feel the kick I get from Nero’s Day at Disneyland, lots of the fun is missing, even the slight melancholia is often lackluster. The release feels more plastic. I reckon it is still alright, if you happen to like indie pop. I usually don’t.

Putting my listen count above 10 I finally grasped the wood from the trees. Most tracks have about half of material that I like and half that I do not, which takes the mat under the whole track. Good example being Pulling Down Never. The intro vocals take badly on my nerves, then all the sudden we get a mindblowing chorus. It develops to a bridge, that seems to lack a bit of beat but is still solid. Then back to nervewrenching wailing. Sum up: fucking annoying verse; all the rest great.

The record is definitely not without goodness. The title track is just wonderful; and it does sound exactly like Nero’s Day at Disneyland. Also thumbs up also to Seraphim Sliding Backwards that really is a simple track with some melodic goodness. Still took over 5 times to open up for me. It contains only mildly annoying elements.

I would enjoy this release a lot more without the vocals. It is a similar situation than with Nero’s Day At Disneyland’s first album “Attention Shoppers”. It contains mostly terrible vocals but its overall craziness makes the bad vocals up a lot better than the artistic tinge on “Locked Into Phantasy”.

I hope 10 years from now this EP is thought as a misstep or an experiment which wasn’t complete yet, but helped to fruition a new style for Bousfield. I appreciate that it was released under a different pseudonym, the pieces are very familiar, but they form a new sound.

6+/10

The artist shared a mediafire link to freely download the release on his facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/laurenbousfieldanyever/posts/348796375218823

If you feel like paying it is also available in bandcamp for rather cheap 7$ price: http://laurenbousfieldanyev3r.bandcamp.com/album/locked-into-phantasy

I would recommend that you rather grab his earlier release, one of my all time electronic music favourites, 7 $ is a steal: http://laurenbousfieldanyev3r.bandcamp.com/album/from-rotting-fantasylands

Track-by-track:

1. The Ropes Our Nights Were Laid Across, Pulled Taut

Good intro, its already evident that the percussions are in a smaller role than with Nero. Still solid.

8-/10

2. Seraphim Sliding Backwards

I do not understand how it took me over 5 listens to realize it is a great track. The female/child vocals are a lot less annoying here than in other tracks. The 0.31 starting melody is one of the top points of the album.

8½/10

3. Pulling Down Never

Here the downfall begins, the intro vocals take on my nerves then all the sudden we get a mindblowing chorus bridge, that seems to lack a bit of beat but still solid. Then back to nervewrenching wailing. Sum up: fucking annoying verse; all the rest great.

6/10

4. That Was Everything That I Owned

Glad you do not own it anymore, now kill it before it rises. I am glad that the abomination that laments in the intro does not resurface and the vocals develop near the best that this album has. Still, they are sub-par, and the track balances on the edge of skippable. Piano melody is unarguably good.

4½/10

5. Locked Into Phantasy

Among the very best Bousfield tracks of all time. Only Lauren Bousfield track I plan to regularly play to my friends (among with big bunch of Nero’s tracks). Probably Bousfield’s most accessible and catchy track together with “Child Protective Service Theme Song”.

10/10

6. A Tiny Streak Of Daylight (with Judy Balmin)

Only track I skip instantly. Makes me want to murder hipsters.

1/10

7. Two Swans Duct Taped To The Side Of The Coke Machine

First 40 seconds promises we may have a great one coming up, then on comes this backwards childvoice. I can’t stand it.

6/10

8. Blown Blooms

Extremely memorable intro, alright bridge. Then another wailing chorus; unfortunately this disappointing turn of events is continued furthermore on a large portion of the track. The glitchy piano outro would surely be lovely if my mind wasn’t still dampened by the chorus.

6/10