YACHT I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real.

[Marriage; 2007]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: laptop, electronic, pop, grunge
Others: The Blow, Bobby Birdman, Little Wings, Devendra Banhart

As fond as I am of the 'producer solo album' (that increasingly nebulous progeny of such ill-conceived genres like “turntablism,” “IDM,” and the shudder-inducing “electronica”), I don’t find myself revisiting them with any consistency or conviction. Seems like there’s an artist for nearly every occasion — Jamie Lidell for a night with that special someone, Devin the Dude for a lazy afternoon — but I can’t remember the last time I woke up and thought, “Feels like a Kid 606 kind of day.”

Lest you think me some simpleton whose listening habits are dependent on the weather, I generalize because it’s the best way to address a body of music whose maddening proliferation and technical intricacies make it largely inaccessible to that sizable chunk of listeners not versed in Fruityloops. Producers tend to treat their solo work as a venue for experimentation or creative catharsis, often precluding the pop aesthetic that might be more prevalent in their contract work. This, of course, is not a bad thing, and recent efforts like DJ Shadow’s The Outsider and RjD2’s The Third Hand represent valiant (if misguided) attempts to defuse the genre’s tendency to navel-gaze. But for musicians whose obsessive-compulsive approach to their craft — crate-digging, pointing-and-clicking, etc. — demands consideration of such a large volume of music, you’d think that more of it would inevitably make its way to radiowaves near you.

What a joy it is, then, to hear “So Post All 'Em,” the first track off I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real. from YACHT (a.k.a. Jona Bechtolt, the producer-half of The Blow). Breezy guitar samples bounce alongside percussive handclaps and squirmy horns, all layered into a compact pop confection. It’s an exhilarating little ditty, if not for its immediate pleasures, then for the ones it portends. On The Blow’s Paper Television, Bechtolt added a cheeky undertone to Khaela Maricich’s Björk-y musings, and he retains much of that same playfulness here. As YACHT, he sets out to demonstrate to his fellow lap-toppers just how fun their music can be.

Bechtolt operates with a healthy sense of humor throughout much of I Believe, which is simultaneously the album’s biggest attraction and downfall. “We’re Always Waiting” and “It’s All the Same Price” both bemoan the nine-to-five grind with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and “It’s Coming to Get You” discards the workday worries with the angsty relief of a teenager peeling off his McDonald’s uniform at the end of a shift on the deep-fryer. Elsewhere, Bechtolt’s jokes start fast but fall flat, like a bad Onion article that draws you in with its hilarious headline. “Drawing in the Dark” and “Women of the World” take parodic pokes at chopped-and-screwed and punk, respectively, but break too much in tone with the rest of the album. They’re forgivable mistakes, though, for an artist whose adventurous eclecticism should prove to yield more hits than misses. Soon enough, there’ll be enough for us all to have our YACHT days, though they’ll surely be scattered across different weeks and months of the year.

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