Thing of the Day
Yip-Yip unmask a new album
August 23rd 2011
If Devo had been influenced by The Locust instead of the other way 'round... and if both were (even) geekier... Bone Up drops out of the sky from planet wtf, a sonic crop circle. But this Yip-Yip, in fact, actually comes from Earth: Orlando, Florida to be exact - OK, maybe not quite this planet, then.
Yip-Yip are a duo who don't so much play analogue/oddball synths as bathe in them. Intense exposure to the sounds and mad emanations given off by these machines has changed them into twin alien being things, and forced them to create a whole series of albums, of which Bone Up is the seventh. Their sound is pure orchestrated squiggle and thump: a wide gamut of industrial and poppy synth stylings that shift and stretch, chop and change.
understandably, have been voted Orlando Weekly's 'Best Electronic Act'
every year since 2004, and have a legendary live show that has toured
all over the States and Europe (holding their own up against The
Locust, Melt Banana, Aids Wolf, Xiu Xiu, Ruins, Battles, Upsilon Acrux
etc etc). Performing for years clad in various iterations of masks,
full-body weirdness suits and cybergoggles, it came as a shock to some
when glimpses of their (suprisingly young looking) faces began to
emerge from the costume/cocoons. Even more of a suprise to
hear vocals, and rather human heartfelt lyrics.
The results are very reminding of now-defunct but completly marvellous Glasgow electronic duo Gay Against You, who were already sounding like Yip-Yip in a parallel-evolution kind of way (admittedly with Glaswegian spit and grit and dirty distortion). Bone Up fills the big hole left by that loss, and then some. The synth adventures of Yip-Yip were already thrilling and mesmerising and suprising, and full of a kind of joyful, manic personality in a way that many other instrumentalists fail to express. Their sculptured, often mathy, always organic electronica was primed for human words and meaning to be part of the adventure - and here it is, with lyrics that are bang on the contemporary button. We're over it/ We're over it/ A tsunami of entertainment overwhelming all of your friends assaulting your senses... Chopped and fizzing songs about work, life, disconnecting not respecting, getting the whole day off, perfectionism and happy accidents, being on the outside... it all fits, its all adding to the Devo-esque package.
Bone Up starts with a deliriously, typically Yip-Yip-flavoured title track, all Casiotone squeak and squiggle and fairground time-changes. And the album starts as it means to go on, relentlessly imaginative: the sheer tuneage and robotic barber-shop of Hot Plop, the twisted vocoder ska of Cake Wigs, the xylophone wonk of Yo Noid. This is music generated by a youth well spent in shiny 24-hour amusement arcades (they were too hyper to stay in and program their Amigas)... who knows what growing up in Disneyland does to you? And now they're venturing out from the strip lighting malls to the outside, and have a few things to say about that shallow place they're emerging from, and want more from the equally shallow daylit world.. Too much information becomes an addiction/ Distractions keep you from having fun... So much melody packed into each mad little song: sneakily sophisticated tunes that veer from kitch to pop menace, driven by arcade-game rhythms and synth zip and zing. And never mind experimental electronica - boy can these two alleged humans write a song. Apes Ahoy and Day Off are pure pop gold.
Bone Up is just great. It's a bit of a masterpiece, actually - an album that you wouldn't expect Yip-Yip to make, an album with depth and colour and confidence. And yes, listen to Yip-Yip's previous offerings, listen past the noisier experimentation and the costume concepts, and you'll hear sophistication and careful thought and song-making ability that always backed up the madness.
Yip-Yip have unmasked themselves, figuratively and literally, both with this new album and at their recent gigs, and the creatures underneath are just as engaging as before - and posessing more substance than might have first met the eye and ear.
Download the whole album from yip-yip.bandcamp.com/
Bone Up and lots of earlier work on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/yip-yip