See Mystery Lights

Yacht - See Mystery Lights
Annie Zaleski

At times, the mythology surrounding YACHT—which stands for Young Americans Challenging High Technology—threatens to overwhelm its music. The electro-pop brainchild of Portland, Oregon, musician Jona Bechtolt, YACHT functions as a sonic manifestation of his immersion in technology (he chronicles much of his life online) and fascination with mystical symbolism. (In fact, the press kit for the act’s DFA Records debut, See Mystery Lights, included a pamphlet explaining the significance of triangles.)

The Details

Four stars
Beyond the Weekly

But Lights’ music more than compensates for any perceived pretentiousness. Viscous dance grooves informed by street funk, decayed urban disco and pastiche-electro—think the Art of Noise, early ’80s NYC punk-funk innovators and DFA acts such as LCD Soundsystem—collide with clashing guitar shards and skittering rhythms. Occasional awkward diatribe about technology aside, Lights is irresistible: “I’m in Love With a Ripper” is an auto-tuned party jam that spoofs both cheesy ’80s pop and hedonistic hip-hop, while the loping-to-stomping tropical drone “Ring the Bell” pulses with Animal Collective-caliber rhythmic color.

New permanent member Claire L. Evans might be YACHT’s secret weapon: On the new-wave playground chant “The Afterlife,” her speak-sing delivery resembles Kate Pierson’s, giving the song a B-52’s-on-vacation vibe. The glut of electro acts in recent years has made it difficult to find the truly innovative bands and musicians, but thanks to Lights, YACHT should rise above the rest.


Previous Discussion:

  • Eighty hours in, it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the combat system.

  • Also: Young the Giant, Kidz Bop and Katchafire.

  • Inspired by Adams’ divorce from Mandy Moore, most of the songs are melancholy and downbeat.

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