Plumbiferous Media

Let It Sway – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Aug 22nd 2010
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Let it Sway - Someone Still Loves You Boris YeltsinSomeone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Let It Sway
Score: 86

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, formed in Missouri at the end of Yeltsin’s presidency, returned to album production this past Tuesday with the release of Let It Sway. Signed to Polyvinyl, it’s not surprising that SSLYBY’s new album is extremely well recorded, but what is surprising is the album’s content. Let It Sway is a moderate departure from the sound of Broom and Pershing, both of which are hard to remember anything but fondly, and, simply put, Let It Sway is a great success.

Frontman Philip Dickey once again lends his distinctive voice to Let It Sway, which helps the album in retaining much of the style of the band’s earlier work – though with new developments and creative changes that make it completely new. Dickey’s voice is, as always, simultaneously breathy and plaintive, while filled with an energy that is too often lacking in the occasionally semi-lethargic singers who fit that profile. As such, Dickey fully embraces Let It Sway‘s energy, for a quite satisfying effect.

The aim of SSLYBY’s lyrics has always seemed to be the combination of well-written stories and odes with just enough absurdity to keep it all interesting. Let It Sway stays in much that same vein, and it certainly fulfills the goal of being interesting. Dickey happily bounces between singing “All hail Dracula!” and the somewhat less clear (but no less entertaining) “Wasn’t the pulse just rocking us / No sense at all pretend / There was a connection / Was it ever thin / Birds in a row / Information traveling under them.” Somehow, it all works, however little sense it makes (it doesn’t hurt that Dickey’s voice is in full force while he’s singing it all).

The instrumentals of Let It Sway are composed of an interesting blend of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s earlier style and newer influences, including, perhaps most prominently, folk/country. That appears instantly with the excellently phrased first track, “Back in the Saddle.” SSLYBY then returns to something closer to their earlier style with the subsequent track, “Sink/Let It Sway,” which begins with a guitar line somewhat resembling the beginnings of “Glue Girls” and “You Could Write a Book,” from Pershing.

And while the album waffles pleasantly through various blends of genres, it’s hard to miss how much SSLYBY has developed musically as well as thematically. We remember Pershing very fondly, simply because we absolutely loved a select subset of the tracks, namely “Glue Girls,” “Think I Wanna Die,” and “Oceanographer,” (and maybe one or two others). But the rest of Pershing was not really all that good; most of the tracks were somewhat dull, and some resembled each other far too closely. That is simply not the case on Let It Sway. SSLYBY’s newest album is strong all the way through, with tracks that develop and flow excellently and with a wealth of diversity.

Let It Sway is not only a solid album, but, thanks to SSLYBY’s ever-entertaining writing and sound, a fun one. It is definitely not another Pershing, but we couldn’t have asked for a better sequel. Let It Sway goes with a bit of a different approach, but still one which does a great job at demonstrating every bit of SSLYBY’s creativity. As good as Let It Sway is, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin still has some work to do before their albums move from being highly entertaining to heart-stoppingly excellent – at least if that is what they want – but they’re definitely on the right track.

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