Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Let It Sway
By Lizzie Burnham
As a bright, impressionable 19-year-old college sophomore, I was introduced to Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY). However, let me backtrack a little and give you a bit of insight on how and why they came to play at my school. I attended Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. Some people scratch their heads at the mere mention of Richmond, Ind., and I assure them it is indeed a small town in seemingly the middle of nowhere. However, even though Richmond as a whole town is not an ideal place to see music, Earlham managed to pull in some great names. I’d been seeing these posters around campus advertising for a dual bill of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Detholz!. Needless to say, I was intrigued and glad I did not skip the show.
I was not prepared for how much I would love SSLYBY. The minute they launched in to “Oregon Girl” from their first album Broom, I was hooked. I could not get enough of their pop-laden songs. As the night wore on and they finished their set, I was left with a satisfied feeling, but still wanting even more of their infectiously happy songs. Their set ended all too shortly, but then again they were just starting out and the audience was not able to request a three-hour long set, so we were lucky to get what we could out of them.
Enter Pershing. SSLYBY’s sophomore effort was a bit moodier than their first record. Do not get me wrong because I like Pershing, but I much preferred the effortless buoyancy that Broom exhibited. The guys matured through leaps and bounds with their songwriting and music and produced a great album, but I guess it just was not quite to my liking.
Now it’s August 2010 and these busy men have released their third album, Let It Sway. I have been keeping my tabs on SSLYBY since I saw them five years ago. I always highly anticipated the next release, and this one was no different. So I was tickled to get the opportunity to listen to this album and write a few words.
The first thing I noticed was that several of the songs took me straight back to the Broom era. “Back In The Saddle,” “Sink/Let It Sway” and “Everlyn” are absolute throwbacks to the lo-fi wonderment of the first album. They are perhaps some of the most attention-grabbing songs I have heard in a long time. To this day, I maintain that one of the most important things a pop song should possess is the ability to sink its hooks in to the listener and not let go until it’s over. These men have more than mastered that art, and I’m excited they did not completely deviate from it on this album.
Interspersed throughout the rest of the album are songs that remind me of Pershing. There is some brooding, but with the brooding comes even more well written songs.
“Banned (By The Man)” and “Animalkind” exhibit these qualities oh so well. While these are not completely to my liking, the mix of pop and more serious songs goes hand in hand to create a cohesive album. To this date, I believe it to be their best, even though it does lose a lot of the DIY feeling from their first album. What they lost in the DIY feeling, they made up for with a great production team helmed by Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie notoriety. He did an excellent job working in the studio to round out the sound, especially adding extra instruments and effects, and give it a more professional feel.
I really like the feel of the album and commend these four men for doing such grand work. If Let It Sway is any indicator for what we as listeners can expect from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin in the future, then I think we are all in capable and safe hands.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin plays Black Cat in Washington, D.C., September 10.