Review Summary: About as satisfying and conclusive as an unfinis
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have led a fairly unobtrusive musical career thus far. Debut LP Broom
certainly had its charming moments and carried enough modest serenity to cement itself as an enjoyable indie-pop record, albeit at a point in time just before indie-pop itself had begun to feel exhausted. Subsequently, after signing to Polyvinyl, the foursome released both Pershing
and Let It Sway
in similar fashion, with their graceful and pleasant songwriting hitting audiences in generally positive ways and further fixating the quirky Missourians as fine artists of their craft in the indie scene.
Then came talk of Tape Club
. The release, according to Polyvinyl's site, was to be a "carefully curated 26-song collection" of recordings that were somehow "above and beyond what could be included in their previous records." Now I don't know about you, but I'm somewhere between twelve and fifteen percent offended - offended at the label's intimation that we foolish listeners wouldn't be able to look past their ornate descriptors of Tape Club
and to see it for what it really is: twenty-six tracks that feels like sixty-two tracks that could have easily been condensed into about six two-minute tracks.
You see, and I beg you to pardon my French, Tape Club
is sort of like being on the receiving end of oral sex whose two participants are mutually inebriated: it takes awhile to get going, there's some slight droopage somewhere in the middle of the ordeal, and remembering it in the morning is harder than you'd thought but not worth the effort regardless. Tracks one through five are that particularly sluggish start - not until 78-second ditty 'Spinning Sea' do SSLYBY gain a sense of purpose (or at least momentarily drop their blissfully unhurried pretensions), at which point the collection offers its listeners a few tracks worth falsetto-ing along to. 'Half-Awake' even bears witness to the foursome's ability to throw eccentric time signatures and more technical melodies into their generally less outlandish song structures. The release doesn't offer a whole lot more than a handful of catchy hooks and hummable melodies though. The handclaps of 'New Day' echo dully forth as if Ben Stein were in charge of their arrangement, whereas two-minute long Same Speed' outstays its welcome by a solid ninety-five seconds. And I'm still baffled by what the hell they were going for with the synth-pop queerness of 'Yellow Missing Signs.' In general, the record's tracks don't leave the listener with much more than a boredom headache and the lingering taste of dusty water, whatever the audial form of that particular sensation may be.
I shouldn't say that I wish SSLYBY would not have released Tape Club
- the fact that it's a release of unnecessary material doesn't exactly detract from their repertoire any more than it adds to it. Maybe even I'm to blame; perhaps I allowed myself to be temporarily fooled by Polyvinyl's anticipatory adjectives in announcing the release and henceforth was doomed to be disappointed by it. Either way, so bare-boned a collection of tracks are at best worth their weight in coal, and show that sometimes it's just better to call B-sides what they are.