De Staat
Red Yellow Blue


4.3
superb

Review

by Mitch Worden EMERITUS
June 11th, 2023 | 133 replies


Release Date: 06/02/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It ain't that deep.

Comfort is something difficult to qualify in music, but it seemed as if 2021 demonstrated its importance to listening audiences. It was a calendar year dominated by known entities releasing their known sounds in a known way to people who knew them well--and who could be blamed for it? After the uncertainty of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, familiarity was a treasured commodity, like a small reminder of the simple things that could lighten up a sh*t day. For all intents and purposes, Red Yellow Blue deals in comfort; it may come packaged with talk of high experimentation, but the Dutch gang’s typical style dominates. Hell, the central gimmick of the LP is based around flaunting that style; constructed as a series of singles written and released throughout the quarantine period, each color / chapter of Red Yellow Blue is designed as an exaggeration of one of De Staat’s defining characteristics. The result is what happens when the group’s trademark silliness, sardonic sense of humor, blaring synths, and dance-worthy grooves are amplified to a sugary-sweet apex.

First, the obvious: cohesion is not the name of the game when it comes to this album due to it being essentially a singles collection. That being said, the record manages to match 2016’s O in terms of stylistic consistency; there’s no whiplash ‘I need to run’ moment like “Pikachu” (as fun as it is, in its own way), no jarring features, no outright clunkers like “I Wrote That Code”--it’s a laser-focused distillation of De Staat’s strengths, trimmed of excess to fit songs that barely squeak by or miss the 3-minute mark. Each section of the album brings its own bite-sized entertainment to the table; Red is the aggressive, headbanger’s rave portion, buoyed primarily by sharp, biting synths and militant percussion in-line with the band’s dance-punk influence; Yellow is the comparatively goofy cousin, thriving off of playful grooves and hip-hop inspirations; and Blue is the ballad-heavy conclusion, reigning in the bouncy energy that preceded it and replacing it with graceful synth motions, gentle drums, and melodies that seem to drift weightlessly through tracks.

Despite 80% of the album being spoiled ahead of release, the three choice cuts left unreleased--”Burning the Flag” off of Red, “Bompti” from Yellow, “Roots” on the Blue side--feel the most emblematic of this newly-refined De Staat. All of them contain a clear concept that’s given just enough space to develop, lay down an addicting chorus, and promptly move along for the next banger. In the case of “Burning the Flag,” the driving force is an off-kilter rhythm punctuated by a jangly guitar riff and punchy percussion, with frontman Torre Florim’s distinct shouts urging the tune onward into a rising wave of alarm-like synths. “Bompti” is comparatively more minimalistic, thriving off of a thumping bass and charismatic synth melody that compel immediate dancing, and “Roots” makes use of acoustics and distant strings to craft a surprisingly gentle, atmospheric number. Not a moment goes wasted; even at its most peaceful, an urgency propels De Staat’s songwriting as they rapidly form new ideas, yet never in a manner that feels too hasty.

Owing to that urgency, there’s a certain liveliness to Red Yellow Blue that characterizes its blazing pace. It’s coursing through the energetic Red, the comedic lean of Yellow--chief examples being “Who’s Gonna be the GOAT?, essentially an anthem to laziness, and the tongue-in-cheek corporate activism critique “Peace, Love & Profit”--and the gradual calm of Blue. This segmented approach does contribute to a listening experience that can at times come across unbalanced, and what separates one color from another seems a question best suited for painters than De Staat’s occasionally blurry experimentation, but there’s enough creativity on display to justify most of the record’s 15-song repertoire. It’s the consummate De Staat experience: humor, vibrant dance-punk, infectious grooves, and unconventional choices that shouldn’t work, yet still do in the context of the band’s wink-and-nudge, kitsch-as-hell approach. There may be bands better, but none quite as effortlessly entertaining, and there’s a sort of comfort to that enjoyment.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Emeritus
June 11th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Quickie for a goodie. I've marathon-ed a lot of reviews lately; I'm gonna lie down a second now.



Album is fun, btw

Flugmorph
June 11th 2023


34296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hell yeah you did it!!! rest well champ.

Trifolium
June 11th 2023


39041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeeeeeessssssssssssssss Mars I love you almost as much as I love De Staat!!! ❤️💚💞

Demon of the Fall
June 11th 2023


33903 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I didn’t love this, but will digest this and contemplate regardless. Good to see a review has been conjured

MarsKid
Emeritus
June 11th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Brutal 2.5 :^( hopefully subsequent listens are better!



It IS De Staat so I don't expect too much positivity overall tbh, it's a guilty pleasure band lol

Flugmorph
June 11th 2023


34296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fun music = guilty listening



music isn't supposed to be fun!!! 😡

Demon of the Fall
June 11th 2023


33903 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah exactly

Demon of the Fall
June 11th 2023


33903 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I liked their last album by the way 🤷🏻

MarsKid
Emeritus
June 11th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Oh I know, which is why I'm a bit surprised at the low rating.

Manatea
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2023


1941 Comments


Mars i feel like i understand why you would like this, but i’m having trouble.
Still trying for you tho

Trifolium
June 12th 2023


39041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah yeah yeah loving the new tunes (Bombti 🤭💞), already loved the older ones. Loving this!! ✨😍

TheHamburgerman
June 12th 2023


1536 Comments


This would explain why they played 3 times on Best Kept Secret, with a different color each time as representation.

MarsKid
Emeritus
June 12th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Hell yes Trif!



"Bompti" definitely one of the best here. Part of me is sad it's so short, part of me thinks the length is p e r f e c t.

Trifolium
June 12th 2023


39041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ahahahaha nice Hamburgerman!! Jealous, with that lake and those temperatures it probably was a great festival weekend!!!



Also agreed Mars, one of my faves too. Closer is fan-tastic as well.

Scheumke
June 12th 2023


2632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best Kept Secret is pretty much in my back yard (like, we can literally hear the bass from our garden) but wasn't able to go. Would've loved to be there though. Album is a lot of fun, don't know if I enjoy it more than Bubblegum but a great time regardless

Spec
June 12th 2023


39476 Comments


do these guys actually sound like the black keys? because i refuse to listen to anything that sounds like the black keys

DDDeftoneDDD
June 12th 2023


22329 Comments


Bubble gum was nice (?)

Trifolium
June 13th 2023


39041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes it was!!!!!!!!



I agree Scheumke, I loved Gum better overall.

MarsKid
Emeritus
June 13th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Bubble Gum has some tracks that I skip, this one really just has one for me ("Some Body"), but it also has some higher high points than this (fuckin love "Me Time" for all eternity).

Trifolium
June 13th 2023


39041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AAAA LITTTLEEEE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE TIMMMEE!!!!!!



Classic, agreed.



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