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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