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I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler

Spaced-out, mostly cheerful synth-pop about the dystopia (or is it utopia?) of now

YACHT

Ricky Tompkins

YACHT came out of Portland in the mid-’00s as a pair of smart synth-pop noodlers with some cute, crinkly beats and a wide-eyed vibe that can even make worry sound vaguely blissful. Their most popular song, 2011’s “Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire)” turned the end of all things into resigned fun. Over the years, they’ve relocated to Los Angeles and developed from a duo into a band, with a sound that’s gone beyond blippy computer jams like 2007’s great “See A Penny (Pick It Up)” to the smoother, more full-bodied organic tunes on their last album 2011’s Shangri-La, which featured “Dystopia” and had a free-rolling disco buoyance to fit its title.

Their sixth album is steeped in sci-fi parody; songs like “Ringtone” and “Hologram” work a 21stcentury Human League coyness. Elsewhere, singer Claire L. Evans’ lyrics sometimes hint at a moodier, more personal vision of a future that’s forever passing us by: “When I look at myself, what I see there looking back is nothing, nothing but an alien.” Moments like that recall the world-weary body-moving of LCD Soundsystem, Yacht’s former peers on the DFA label. But YACHT have never been too big on introspect, and avoiding big highs and lows might be one of the reasons they’ve hung around after most of the indie-dance bands they came up alongside a decade ago have petered out. Their Los Angeles parody song, “L.A. Plays Itself,” may offer an ironic tourist catchphrase ripped from dystopic urban studies lore (“there’s no truth in memory”) — but the song itself has the happy detachment of transplants who are always finding something new in the malls and canyons. For these guys, keeping it simple, sexy and rapturously surface-level is just fine. It’s no big shock one of the best songs here is called “I Wanna Fuck Til I’m Dead.” 

In This Article: Yacht

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