Yelephants//You Look Divorced
Rating: bad//meh//alright/nice//very freaking good//excellent
Someone passed me a copy of Tart, New Orleans’ Yelephants’ first ever release, shortly before my Junior year of college kicked off. Gathered from facebook events I never attended and other social media in between, these guys had a particular fondness for house shows and getting plastered over playing venues. Divergent acquaintances also insisted that, based on my personal taste in music, I’d dig the dudes. I guess I had to listen to it.
Tart was very unexpected. The outfit embraced this Oblivians-ish attitude towards execution: dumbed-down production, reverbered and distorted instrumentation/vocals, and baggy drums, while understanding how to successfully use pop melodies fused in bar chords played in 4/4. This is quite unusual among local “indie” and “punk” acts, at least within the concept of the college scene. It was refreshing.
After going to a couple of shows, I was hooked; maybe it’s the rowdy energy the dudes have blended with the voluntary/intoxicated moshing, but Yelephants are cool as fuck to see live, ESPECIALLY if it’s a house party. That’s why when You Look Divorced was released, I decided I’d waste my day by thinking about sad college boy stuff while listening to the EP. And since I was familiar with all of the songs that comprised the release, I wasn’t really hoping for anything new. I was there because of the sound on record.
I didn’t give much special thought into “Cemetery Friends”, the opening track, upon the first few listens. It took me a minute to realize how subtly Yelephants’ sound had evolved; It’s catchy song embellished in minor chords and lo-fi sensibilities, which kind of deviates from the whole “let’s get drunk and make out with cute people” thing Yelephants gladly welcome with open arms. It’d still be a song you’d find a front row of inebriated kids jump to, but it marks the beginning of something to come; while Tart was 4 songs worth of mishaps and college party hymns, You Look Divorced starts with something that sounds less than a drunken paean and more like a reflective path towards self-pity (instrumentally speaking, since I have no fucking clue what the shit the lyrics are).
"Mr. Growler", follows this same continuity, but to a different extent. While "Cemetery Friends" would still be something to dance to, "Mr. Growler" happens to be more of a group of bummed down 20-year olds driving back home through a traffic jam. Even the one "chill bruh" track on Tart, “Burt Reynolds”, has this “dude i’m hungover but it’s cool got i got my dick sucked” quality to it. Overall, “Mr. Growler” sounds like something some tipsy fuck on melatonin recorded before finally jacking off and falling asleep. I love it.
"Five Tulips" throws itself back to all the things discussed that Yelephants embody. It’s a rambunctious pit of pop and garage rock sensibilities that digs from your flesh to the back of your throat. Still, however, there are some evident changes; Jack Hardy’s shakier voice now sounds less than Julian Casablancas robo-tripping and more like Tom Petty being repeatedly kicked in the nutsack (this is a good thing).
But it is how all of these aspects are abruptly combined with the point that the lyrics don’t mean shit - literally. It’s been brought up to my attention that Hardy just mumbled random gibberish in the recording out of spite for his disliking the original lyrics - that make for such a great song; it’s like an utter “fuck you” to pop music albeit disguised in drunken hip college students playing guitars. “Five Tulips” has a warm place in my heart as a result.
"Kermit" just kind of takes after it’s predecessor. Literally. Not only does it bear resemblance to "Five Tulips" uncannily, but it also emulates the same substance: it’s melodious, foot-tapping, and fun to listen to. But I humbly feel that if I wanted to listen to "Five Tulips again, I’d just press repeat. For this, the track just isn’t as memorable.
You Look Divorced is an entertaining listen. It’s a clusterfuck of plastered influences and alcohol that sticks in your head for better or worse. It’s definitely one of the catchiest releases I have heard in a while. I just hope that the musical maturity of these kids doesn’t affect their ability to be fun and rowdy and worthy to see live.
Have a nice life.
You Look Divorced was self-released digitally on the band’s bandcamp and produced by Chaz Sexton.