Review Summary: Young Texas duo play it loud
For kids who cite math rock, midwest emo, doom metal, and
J-pop as artistic influences, Texas duo YALL’s debut is surprisingly bold-faced and structurally sound, even more so for the band’s average age of 19. Tidbits like that J-pop nod are more to tickle the senses (and your interest) than to act as any sort of overlying aesthetic, but in a growing underworld of DIY rock bands, this breach of genre norms helps set YALL apart from their peers. Namely, it means that Drink From Between Our Hair
isn’t here to impress, no matter that it does anyhow, but to provide a good, fun and sometimes honestly funny time. One only needs to read the song titles to reach that conclusion.
At a stark 23 minutes, YALL cover the broad range of aforementioned genres, but not in ways immediately apparent, especially when proposed on paper. “Tour That Groupie” flits nearly seamlessly between the favored midwest emo styling (with guitarist Travis Franklin bringing the track in with a quiet moment to slide a few notes out) and the noisier wash of their math rock roots. A break in the middle for a finger-tapping segment is instantly memorable, as when drummer Andy Richardson and Franklin seem to play off the other in wordless tandem. Other tracks like “Slow Hoteling” aren’t so easy to pin down, the heavier slant toeing the line of dogged hardcore until Franklin’s tapping spins the track in a new direction, if only for a few moments. “Crowd About It” is a straight-up amalgam of these disparate moments and is a highlight for it.
Opener “Banded to Write Noises” volleys this sentiment for genre work into the air with little regard for class: the intro is built on Franklin’s taut chords while Richardson fills in the tempo, the effect knocking around somewhere between power metal and pop rock. Before one can even care to guess what’s being emulated, the song is released with a gleeful sputter into the album’s lone vocal chorus, but don’t bother deciphering these lyrics; they’re sung in Japanese, buried so far into the mix that they come up choked in static. But damn, it’s catchy, and the air of good humour hangs heavy all the way until “Get On a Star Or” breaks down into fits of enraged screams. In those 23 minutes, you’ll find pieces of Lightning Bolt, Planets, Mineral, maybe even a little Ponytail, but what comes together feels distinctly of a piece. Considering the few weeks it took to put this album together, I suspect even more exciting genre work to come.