YVETTEDec 16, 2013
It was that crappy beginning part of November—when the Halloween-induced buzz has quickly worn off, September is miles away, and you begin to feel the implications of the long, cold haul you have to make to class every morning for the next month. In such moments of glib, I’ve found the best medicine is to embrace the ugly and make it your own. For a soundtrack to this terrible morning commute I sought out the new Factory Floor, but instead I found Yvette, the audible equivalent of trucking through an Ace Hardware store head first on a coffee high—and what a ride it was.
Industrial post-punk duo Yvette is not ones for verbosity or highfalutin gimmicks. On the band’s website, you’ll find a concise, three sentence description of an act now three years in the making: YVETTE IS A BAND FROM NEW YORK. RICK = DRUMS, SYNTHESIZERS, EFFECTS, VOCALS. NOAH = GUITAR, VOCALS, EFFECTS. The duo—comprised of a paint salesman and a public radio nerd—finally released their bone-rattling, 33-minute debut full length, Process, this October on Godmode Records. Produced by a rogue (re: former) Pitchfork editor and drummer for Mr. Dream, the duo met their future collaborator in a shared practice space while hashing out their self-titled EP. Whatever the circumstances, the physicality of their sound is a welcome addition to what seems to be an increasingly formulated aesthetic coming out of the 11206 zip code.
Each track goes down with a thump, slathered in piercing guitar effects that swirl around the anchor of drummer Rick Daniel’s polyrhythms and Noah Kardos-Fein’s warm barks. The lyrics are detached but perfectly capture the tension of their dynamic: “Keep the lid on, let it simmer/Keep it wide hot till you're ready/Melt to the corn of the lip/Call it a process,” he sings on opener Pure Pleasure before it drifts into a voiceless ninety seconds of garbled synth and paranoid high-hats. While the songs are mostly under three minutes, the production is layered enough to fill twice that space. After several passes through, it’s apparent that the rhythmic genius of this industrial beast will be sorely underappreciated without headphones of some sort.
The album’s greatest strength—and perhaps to the impatient listener, its greatest flaw—is that it’s a fluid work defined by moments of deafening refrain or fast-tempo catharsis, not traditional song structure. This isn’t to say there aren’t standout numbers—the nuclear sounds of ‘Cuts Me in Half,’ the airy vocals of ‘Everything in Reverse’ and ‘Holding Nothing’, the crashing end to ‘Cold Comfort’, and others all amaze. While no track on the LP is easy to skip, the last half of the album is particularly effective at the balance between production and improvisation, between machine and raw energy. On the whole, Process falls somewhere Swans, Health and Wire, channeling noise-rock influences with a distilled pop sensibility. In Yvette, there’s melody amidst the cold, rusty sonic palette. Here’s to hoping their tour van stops by the Twin Cities!