YACHT fuse politics with electro for I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler

I Thought The Future Would Be CoolerThe signposts are erected for all to see. I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler begins with a few tentative prods at a synthesizer, like a child exploring the instrument for the first time, before the song unfolds into a taut, Moroder-ish paean to human mortality.  It's a fine tradition, and one that stretches back well beyond YACHT's DFA Records background: rigid disco-punk melodies have long been the de facto soundtrack to your band's pronouncements about, like, the future and stuff. You get to look like you don't give a fuck, eyes now permanently rolled into the back of your head, while making it clear that you secretly do give a fuck, because politics. It's a tricky balance sometimes.

There's no denying that Claire L. Evans, the one-time addition to Jono Bechtolt's solo project who now graces the cover alone, particularly knows her way around both angles. Former stomping ground The Blow will forever be remembered for the twee indie mixtape-filler of the century, "Parentheses", which told the age-old story of having to escort your wetter half out of a supermarket because "something in the deli aisle makes you cry." The knack for irresistible hooks clearly hasn't abandoned her since teaming with YACHT in 2008, as evidenced on joyous standout "I Wanna Fuck You Till I'm Dead". Uncomplicated, daft, but overwhelmingly fun, it's also furnished with the same spirit that made the Classixx remix of their equally adorable "Psychic City" a crossover dance hit.

However, it is abundantly clear that this record also has Something To Say. Alongside her musical pursuits, Evans is a writer, sci-fi enthusiast, and editor at VICE's science and tech journal Motherboard. The album's attempts to grapple with these issues - indeed, any issues - occasionally fall short. "Ringtone" is incredibly annoying, and though I'm sure that's meant to be the point, it doesn't work. It's also telling that the album was originally to be called Drones; presumably that was ditched after Muse used the title for their own cringey treatise on the nefarious applications of modern technology. Elsewhere, the title track's clumsy swipe at a military "serving death by remote control and unrestricted sidearms" actually feels like it could be a Muse line.

There are fleeting moments when the political charge comes good. "War on Women" is utterly thrilling, channelling Le Tigre's post-punk dancefloor moves via Jenny Hval's sarcastic diatribe on "That Battle Is Over", a gob of spit in the face of anyone with the audacity to claim that there are "no creeps left to contend with". But YACHT are still at their best when they're at their weirdest. "Don't Be Rude" casts a nod to The Blow's bittersweet pop, and it's a pleasure to recall their wounding joy, setting songs about heartache to uptempo tracks. Ultimately, that's what makes these tracks magical: there's an honesty present, whether it's sincere despair or sincere goofiness. The critical posturing, unfortunately, feels contrived in most places, though not enough to detract from what remains a thoroughly enjoyable and smart record. "No, don't explain it. Just give me entertainment," Evans demands at the end. There's no doubt that the band are capable of explaining it. It's just so much better when they don't have to.

Release: 4th December 2015, Downtown Records


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