The first I heard of Yacht was earlier this month, and I was attracted to them mainly because they were on DFA Records, famed company that released all of LCD Soundsystem’s albums. Since the wound of losing LCD is still fresh in my mind, I had great hopes that another DFA band could soothe the pain. I was pleasantly surprised by their dance-y summertime offering, which I’d recommend to anybody who enjoys LCD Soundsystem and Vampire Weekend at all. The entire album has the lasting quality of up to a year or so however, as it feels much more gimmicky than like a substantial record.
If you’ve heard of Shangri-La at all, you probably know the single “Dystopia” which is hands-down the best song on the album. It screams “dance to me” with simple rhythms, electronic squeaks, and insanely catchy vocals. If one song from this album stands the test of time, only “Dystopia” has that chance, but it still suffers from a strange sense of immaturity. Representative of the album as a whole, “Dystopia” ends up feeling more as if two kids found a cool hook and based an entire song off of it. The rest of the album follows suit. “One Step” is, simply put, the worst song on the album, as they inanely repeat the same phrasing over and over again with no decipherable destination.
What holds up best in Shangri-La is when these two musicians ignore the gimmicks and just play for fun. “Beam Me Up,” “Paradise Engineering,” and the title track all show an attempt to create ideas amidst the chaos, so when combined with the admittedly masterful electronic soundscape they’ve created these tracks elicit different feelings than most of the openers. The majority of tracks have too many hollow words, mere vessels that try to carry the beat along for the song to continue. This can be done well, as Murphy of LCD Soundsystem has shown us (whom they channel for “Paradise Engineering”), but in most of Shangri-La the boys of Yacht just end up creating noise.
TL:DR – Yacht’s Shangri-La will tie you over until the next big pop/dance artist comes out. Give it a listen, especially if you just want a guilty pleasure for summer. Otherwise you’d be better off sticking with LCD S0undsystem memories or Vampire Weekend and MGMT. If you’re even slightly interested, try out “Dystopia,” “Paradise Engineering,” or “Shangri-La.”