Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Kristy" by The What Have Yous- is "a little" album. It feels a little alt folk, alt country, post modern, psychedelic pop, indie. Listen to it in reverse.

The What Have Yous hail from New York. They are a group of musicians who orbit around Zac Gannett who writes the songs and as much as that sounds like a "singer songwriter" situation the compositions would not take shape without the help of guitarist Diwas Gurung (of the band Photoreal) and singer Ceren Yasaruglu. Gannett's latest concept, his imaginings realized is "Kristy" whose title character is struggling to navigate through her life.

The What Have Yours blend styles and maybe even eras so you have to have more than an open mind to not feel like you are time traveling all over the place. Take the opening track Dooba Dooba which opens with an almost Do Wop meets hippie garden folk rock feel and then descends into a heavier feel with blues rock influences and then goes a bit psychedelic. There is something about the sound that feels like the alt country / psychedelic pop of a band like Beachwood Sparks. I felt this sandy toke feel on the song Big Short and Any Little Thing which made me think of drives up the northern California coast up through Big Sur.

Tables and Chairs continues the vagabond alt country tone, the sense of trekking cross country in a beat up van with your love and golden retriever. The time traveling continues as you listen to the instrumental The Escape which works perfectly as a soundtrack to guys ripping up waves. I must say that the abrupt ending sounds weird to me. It ends too quickly. The track Dear Kristy feels like a folk rock love song of sorts. It is the kind of sweet tune that would grace a Wes Anderson movie. The Fall descends into a kind of vast sound, again feeling very travel-esque and mysterious, very John Cage-ish too but without any singing. And If has the most indie rock sound on the album and veers into this great tone that reminds me of Yuck. Absolutely love the density of the sound and bass lines that flow around the melodies.

In conclusion, "Kristy" feels uniquely different. That can be a blessing and a curse. The What Have Yous sound alt country with post modern influences as well as psychedelic / garden rock / indie rock over and undertones isn't your everyday fare. Zac's songs and his vocal performance are engaging. Vocally I thought of Wade Ryff and Lindsey Buckingham and even Father John Misty for some reason and his voice blends well with Ceren's more straight folk approach. Diwas Gurung's guitar work is wonderfully nuanced in the mellow and harder moments. I do feel adamant about one thing, I think the album (in today's landscape) works much better if you listen to it in reverse. Not like reverse as in back masking but as in last song being the first track and then descending down in reverse order. While doing so may change Zac's vision, I think it would feel more accessible to the most people. I think it would immediately pull in a more of an open minded indie audience. I also think that Zac should get some of these songs to film makers. They are those kind of songs, ones that create imagery and trade in story telling for transparent pop hooks.
-
Robb Donker


No comments:

Post a Comment