The evolution of a band is a tricky thing. Sometimes, a group you love changes in such a way that tarnishes some element of why you fell in love with them in the first place. And other times, that growth opens up new possibilities and provides a compelling and satisfying snapshot of where the band is at that point in time.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (We’ll call them SSLYBY from here on out) have unveiled just such a snapshot with Let It Sway, the band’s third full-length album out now on Polyvinyl Records, and one that’s produced by the ever-impressive Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie. SSLYBY have always provided breezy indie-pop with lovely layered guitar melodies and whimsical lyrics about love and self-discovery.
The growth that this Springfield, Missouri group has undergone since 2008’s Pershing is evident from the very first track on Let It Sway. There’s nothing complicated about what makes this the band’s most solid output yet. It’s the execution. It’s the precision with which each element emerges and combines with the next: the previously mentioned guitar parts meld with a solid backbeat, the occasional keyboard melody and pitch-perfect backing vocals, all of which complement Phillip Dickey and John Robert Cardwell’s vocals very nicely.
From start to finish, the hooks are there, and they only burrow themselves deeper in one’s brain with repeated listens. The album’s title track, “Sink/Let It Sway” is a wonderful 3-minute example of how SSLYBY employ their talents to near-perfection, with its jangly guitar, bouncing keyboards and occasional handclaps.
Some other bands’ peak moments come to mind when listening to Let It Sway. Perhaps the easiest comparison is Fountains of Wayne’s seminal indie-rock masterpiece Welcome Interstate Managers. No song here quite measures up to something like “Stacy’s Mom”-like pop nuggetry, but “All Hail Dracula” is a catchy stab at that same goofy charm by SSLYBY. The “na na na na” sing-along choruses are present in spades on Let It Sway, though; Nowhere as perfectly as on track “Banned (By The Man)” which thrives on a brimming bass-guitar line, more handclaps and some fine electric guitar work.
Listen to Let It Sway again and again, and I think you’ll find it hard not to be drawn in. Other bands that come to mind on particular tracks are: Ash, Weezer (Blue album/Pinkerton era), and the recently-disbanded Voxtrot.
Buy the album here.
“Glue Girls” By Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (From Pershing, out now on Polyvinyl)
“Oregon Girl” By Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (From Broom, out now on Polyvinyl)