YACHT hits you hard with their fifth album, Shangri-La, a frantic, compelling concept album. Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans tell the tale of a dysfunctional work at the edge of Zion in transformation hyper-sophisticated disco utopia. An Elysium complete with insight about cosmic transmission, the vitality and true love in all of us – reminiscent of template influences from the Talking Heads and their label bosses, once LCD Soundsystem. The sonic rousing result is a fitting naively enthusiastic furor of neon splashed synths, rubber-like bass and poppy vocals. Shangri-La conjures up images of similar themes of YACHT’s 2009 See Mystery Lights – tales of apocalypse and questions about the afterlife.
Shangri-La’s opener “Utopia” gets the album off to a barreling nirvana start with a hyper-speed punk-funk jam, which becomes the cynosure attributable to the brainwash repetition of the title.
YACHT do not put it lightly when they sing about the apocalyptic implosion of the earth in “Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)” – “The earth, the earth, the earth is on fire/ we don’t have no daughter/ let the motherfucker burn”. A reworded version of Rock Master Scott’s “The Roof Is On Fire” exhausted chorus. The compelling dance-party track is a “post-apocalyptic fight song, a cautionary tale, a science-fiction story for our particular eco-socio-political landscape.”
Tracks like the flawless elated, collective musical liberation “Paradise Engineering” and the ambitious “I Walked Alone”, are embedded in science-fiction snapshots of a perishing society staggering towards excellence. Shangri-La comes close to being excessively sentimental as with the sequential lyrical design of “One Step”.
Shangri-La explores the disco-pop dance utopia and dystopia worlds and takes you on a journey of moody mini-epics and exhaustingly exciting but never as outlandish as you might expect, all the way until the melodious piano euphonious finale “Shangri-La”. Whether of not this paradise appeals to everyone there’s no doubt that YACHT will take you on a mystical enigma adventure of chimerical melodic panoramas, burdened with hypnotizing beats and sparkle soaked synthesizers that leave us on the dance floor in the face of apocalypse.