YACHT Shangri-La > fresh out of the new music oven is the synthpop duo's 5th studio release and 2nd on DFA Records Shangri-La. The Portland-spawned Jona and Claire return with their familiar electric sound, with funky driving bass lines and playfully retro yet modern technique.
YACHT's 2-year vacay breaks with the fun-filled, quick-tempo opening track 'Utopia'. This intro is packed with rapid guitar-strumming, rarely chartered keys, break beat drums and of course the classic harmony of Jona and Claire. A superb way to set the tone for what eclectic mixes lie ahead, electronically and vocally.
The creative range of this pair is demonstrated early on with the subsequent and perhaps opposite track 'Dystopia'. The tempo slows, harmony mostly discontinues and the mood changes with lyrics like 'The earth the earth earth is on fire, we don't have no daughter, let the motherfucker burn'.
The only track that doesn't really make a strong futuristic push is the title track and albums's outro 'Shangri-La' which is comprised of a more old school YACHT technique. Mellow keyboard. Symphonic strings. Subtle fade-ins. Immortal indie formula. Fucking great.
Oppositely, 'Holly Roller' seems to be missing these elements in too much of the track. The verses feature Claire's pipes over a bass line and her own echoes. The hook sets in nicely but not soon enough because the vocals aren't strong enough to carry the song. That said, the best song, arguably, is 'Tripped and Fell in Love' which is the LP's longest track, vocals are distributed evenly but limited generally and the electricity of the album is fully stretched with a over a minute between verses.
If you like technologically experimental sounds and an assertive push in the advancement of electropop then definitely pick this shit up and allow a few of these tracks to compete in your summertime party playlist.