Yachtclub101 — Self Titled (LP)

Yachtclub101 are out with their new self-titled album. And in the immortal words of The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” — I don’t know where, but she sends me there, this is the feeling one gets while listening to the swirling and blazing synthesizers. Add to the mix Yachtclub101’s singer, who goes by just Scott, and his voice is a solar powered entity in its own right, this package of songs delivers a myriad of emotions between those luminous soundwaves.

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Right out of the gate with “This Too Will Pass”, Scott has the listener warming up their dancing moves. His voice has the luster of a Californian, a pondering wanderer. The press materials note that Scott is originally from Vermont, and has staked his home in Oakland, California. An adventurous spirit is whispered between the lines. Scott’s confidences derive from an artist that has not only immersed himself into a new community, but surrounded himself with some of music’s greatest minds. You feel it in these songs. Scott, who has worked with Debbie Harry and Nick Cave, points the listener towards a deeper emotional connection in the next two tracks with “Nothing They Say” and “Leave Me Alone”.

“One Kiss” and “No New Friends” offer a unique emotional journey as well. Still, he’s holding these songs in his holster in so many ways. In “Pick The Spot” and “Shake, Shake, Shake” the stakes are higher. Scott’s demeaner gets freer, the synth beats last longer and cut deeper. The vibrant tones, the smoky textures are prime. You feel like you’re inside the movie Tron. In the track, “Give It To Me” (which also happens to be one of my favorites on the album), he’s more aggressive, more outlandish. You start to hear, just slightly The Blondie influences and maybe even a bit of The Tom Tom Club. I also think listeners that are into MGMT will devour the synth rhythms that Scott is slinging. If “Give It To Me” were a movie, it would definitely be directed by Brian De Palma.

The last two tracks, “Mr. Money Bags” (this song has synth arrangements that just annihilate the other tracks. They are oh-so-oh-so good) and “Last Call” cap the entire listening experience. He definitely ends on a high note with “Last Call”. I’ve been a mess from the day I met you, he sings. His voice has semblances of resentment and resilience. I think he ends the album with joy. It feels like he’s found his way, he’s fond of this person and misses so much. But, again, he’s resilient and has come to accept the situation. You can hear the emotional scarring in his voice. You feel it. But you also feel joy and happiness listening to “Last Call”.

If you’re looking for an album that helps you escape into the groundswell that is full of synth, some hooky percussion and lots of little quirks, Yachtclub101 is for you. I have to give it very high marks and note it as one of this year’s best bets.

Colin Jordan