What do you get when you throw in the imaginative ponderings of a Bay Area dreamer and fold in the electronica of a new generation of synthesizer freaks? Somewhere in that intersection is the wow-factor that is Yachtclub101. Audaciously clever and even more so quick to glean a smile the self-titled album from lone dude, Scott, Yachtclub101 is an underground (not for long) pleasure scape.
Making up the 10-track gem include the starter “This Too Will Pass”, “Nothing They Say” and “Leave Me Alone”. The first trio of songs set the mood for a sonic experience that is heavy on synthesizer, a rambunctious music bed and Scott’s poetic bliss. In “This Too Will Pass” he sings you, you got what you came for… as he drapes the listener in zipper arranged synth. His voice is assured and has this measure of honey-dew. I like his essence. He’s cool, sort of a wild mix of brooding and teenage wonderment. He’s young sounding, but still has a hue of a life experiences. He has a bit of impulsiveness bursting at the seams. He lands on his feet quite nicely.
The next three songs, “One Kiss”, “No New Friends” and “You Pick The Spot” offer an even more gregarious side to Scott’s art. He’s still peaking the interest with the styling synth and he’s peeling back the layers more on this overall story. The album is not a concept album, but it’s still a cohesive emotional journey. I think he begins to show more of a sensitive side, a real connection. The more I listened to these tracks, the more I found myself looping Yachtclub 101 into the same arena as Christopher The Conquered (“I Only Call When I’m Lonely”, “I’m Giving Up on Rock & Roll”). There is that magic that they both have that is undeniably indie and fresh. I also think fans of the score of Netflix’s Stranger Things will really get into the music beds on this album.
The final four tracks, “Shake, Shake, Shake”, “Give It To Me”, “Mr. Money Bags” an “Last Call”, are delicious. In “Shake, Shake, Shake” it feels like the party of the year. To the left, the right, the front, to the back…now grab your partner’s body, he urges. He’s more rapid, almost rapping in this super-charged track. If you aren’t dancing by the first few seconds, then you’re listening to it wrong. “Give It To Me” also has this sweatier vibe. Of the last four songs, it’s hard to know what track invigorated me the most – “Mr. Money Bags” has a video-game tone meshed with an elevating climb. It also has this bluesy-guitar riff jerks throughout. Finally “Last Call” has the line I’ve been a mess and this is so relatable. He doesn’t want to close the door, but it’s also beyond his control and he’s really wanting things the way they were. I found myself humming this song the most. His harmonies can sometimes be lost in the synth shuffle, but it’s there.
by Bethany Page