Friday, 6 April 2012

Released this week: Yppah - Eighty One...

Yppah - Eighty One (Ninja Tune)
Joe Corrales Jr’s 2009 album, They Know What Ghost Know, displayed a maturing and deepening of the sound presented on his occasionally brilliant but ultimately patchy debut, You Are Beautiful at All Times. Now with Eighty One, the Texan’s third outing as Yppah (pronounced ‘yippah’), that early promise seems to have fully come to fruition.

Named after Corrales’ year of birth, Eighty One shares the same references, from shoegaze to hip hop and electronica, that peppered his previous releases. But these 11 tracks demonstrate the first time those various strands have combined to consistently come into full, glorious focus. Eighty One is where the Cocteau Twins, M83, Bent and Ulrich Schnauss conjoin for a jubilant, serotonin-soaked party.

At times, Corrales just allows fragments of these influences to seep into his expansive, almost overwhelming productions. Opener Blue Schwinn is dusted with Liz Fraser-styled vocal snatches, the buzzing synths, stylus scratches and wafting of Anomie Belle’s voice on D. Song are joined by the hint of an anthemic dancefloor hook, while R. Mullen sees the essence of raps and sampled soul croons distilled into its buoyant, larger-than-life whole.

At times these influences come closer to the fore, such as on the album’s lead single, Film Burn. Here, a light, dancing melody is joined by distorted hip hop beats before Belle’s reverb-drenched vocals reveal Yppah’s shoegazing heart in full.

Each track is imbued with a playfulness that’s demonstrated by the sound of giggling children that opens the album and throughout every sunny melody that follows. Deceptively naive yet emotionally powerful, Corrales’ music seems to have pure joy as its main driving force – which is perhaps unsurprising considering his choice of a pseudonym that’s half ‘yippee’ and half ‘hurrah’.

Shimmering guitars, forceful, full-bodied beats and uplifting electronic interludes may have always formed the basis of Yppah’s sound, but here they merge to form what could prove to be one of the most uplifting and beautifully realised albums of the year.

If times in 2012 are tough, nobody told Joe Corrales. This set is a fantastically optimistic and life-affirming antidote to these bleak ‘days of austerity’.
Ian Roullier (BBC)

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