Release Date: Jun 2, 2015
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Familiarizing myself with an album over the course of a single work week is tiring. It helps that I've got some experience with Someone Still Love You Boris Yeltsin: my college radio station booked them to play a show back in 2009 when Pershing was still fresh. Such was a record that was fairly straightforward in its approach to alternative pop (don't give up during that cowbell digression on opener 'Glue Girls'.
Unlike the easygoing, home-recorded Fly by Wire from two years prior, The High Country was recorded by engineer Beau Sorenson (Superchunk, Bob Mould) in Chris Walla's Hall of Justice studio, where Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin turned up the guitars and kicked up the tempos for their lively fifth full-length effort. With band co-founder Tom Hembree back on bass, the band's original lineup of Philip Dickey, Will Knauer, and Hembree made an evidently conscious effort to pick up the energy on their twee-leaning tunes, and it pays off with an album that, with only one of its 11 songs over three minutes long (and just barely), blows by like a frozen custard cone on a hot day. There is just as much emphasis on melody and band-defining sweetness here (as evident on the Partridge Family-reminiscent "Full Possession of All Her Powers" and its chorus of na-na-nas), but a burlier, feedback-peppered attack and busier drums than ever make for a notable development that's more Breeders than Shins this time around ("Trevor Forever," "Song Will," "Total Meltdown").
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have had a transformative couple of years. John Cardwell, one of its founding members, departed following the release of Fly By Wire, their last studio album. They’ve also had the fortune of Tom Hembree, another co-founder, returning to the fold to “stir things up in the best way possible.” Recorded in former Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla’s Hall of Justice studio, The High Country is not an all-out assault by any means, but they do sound like a fully recharged unit.
Let's be honest: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's last two LPs were something less than stellar. Let It Sway, from 2010, just didn't have the songs, whereas 2013's Fly By Wire was the sound of a band that seemed to have become bored with its own material. All of which makes The High Country even more of a pleasant surprise. .
There’s an inherent danger in crafting a record of breezy, hummable songs fit for an easygoing backyard barbecue. When every song on a record is tunefully agreeable and smooth, it risks flattening into something more forgettable. Ultimately, the strength of the melodies and the force of the recording determines whether such a record becomes a pleasurable favorite or pleasantly forgettable.