Review Summary: Yip-Yip have not only created an entertaining and fun listen, but also an intricate and complex one.
Yip-Yip isn’t exactly the kind of band that demands to be taken seriously upon first taste. They look like either geeks with unfortunate haircuts or Ska superheroes (depending on whether you see them in street clothes or the costumes they wear live) and make music that revolves around twee, 8-bit and circus sounding keyboards. The costumes in particular, which recall tour mates The Locust with a third wave Ska obsession, could easily be the subject of ridicule. But, also like The Locust, hidden beneath the costumes and initial tonal turn-offs, there is a highly enjoyable, yet ridiculously complex band.
Unlike The Locust however, Yip-Yip’s music, which is made by two multi-instrumentalists, Brian Esser and Jason Temple, is relatively accessible. It is almost entirely electronic, relying heavily on a wide-assortment of synthesizers, drum machines and effects pedals (no computers), all of which are listed in the album’s liner notes. But still, the music on Two Kings of the Same Kingdom
, Yip-Yip’s latest, is rooted in Math, Noise and Grind, making it vastly different from the common man’s “Techno”. For one, the songs on Two Kings are all intricate and complex. They switch between time signatures like yesteryear’s Rock bands switch between chords, all the while creating and layering interesting and fun synth lines. Right as you get used to one time signature (i.e. you start trying to dance and/or try to figure it out), it changes, or is built upon. In this regard, Yip-Yip have much more in common with a band like Hella or Tera Melos than it does with Daft Punk.
One possible complaint about Two Kings is that the tracks are a little similar sounding. But, even though the tracks blend together a little, and there are no vocals or anything non-instrumental to break this up, the album is a far cry from boring. Sure, tracks blend together, but everything is constantly changing, like a lava lamp or something, leaving no time for monotony. And the general uniqueness of Yip-Yip is reason enough for Two Kings to never get dull. Anarchist Clog
, and Sprinkle Council
rely on peppy beats and distorted keyboard lines to create an opening one-two punch that definitely draws the listener in. Tracks like Audacity Beach
and Jazz Rats
bring in warmer and more mellow tones, including real saxophone (Temple is really proficient in this department) on the latter, but are still fun and exciting. Track-wise, there really isn’t a misstep on the album. It’s solid throughout, with a few tracks that stick out and leave their melodies stuck behind in the listener’s head.
In the end, Two Kings of the Same Kingdom
is an entertaining listen, but also an intricate and complex one. By blending happy-go-lucky keyboards with wtf-inducing time signature changes and a whole lot more, Yip-Yip create a more intelligent form of intelligent dance music. Just because Temple and Esser wear costumes and coat their brand of Math Rock in catchy keyboards, borderline corny melodies and driving drums shouldn’t stop anyone from taking Yip-Yip seriously. And if it does, you’re missing out. This album rules.