Yppah – Eighty One (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
WE KNEW we were going to like this. Yppah – aka Joe Corrales Jr – has previously impressed us with his albums You Are Beautiful At All Times and They Know What Ghost Know. His third LP is, quite possibly, his masterpiece.
Inspired in part by his move from Texas to Long Beach, California, where he developed a love for the ocean, this retains Yppah’s cinematic scope, his DJ Shadow-style ability to make beautiful music from beat-laden backdrops, and – new to the mix – songs that “feel like a warm wash”.
He’s also employed the services of a vocalist for some tracks, namely Anomie Belle (another of IndieLondon’s favourite new artists), whose distinct, often ethereal vocals, merely provide the icing on the cake.
Quite simply, this is a mesmerising listen – beautiful, thrilling, inspiring and consistently brilliant.
The ocean influence is evident from the beginning, even as child-like laughter serves as a precursor to some lovely electronics and a cool beat on Blue Schwinn that, like Yppah hopes, washes over you. He hopes you can feel the pull of the ocean and there is something masterful about the way the music conjures images of crowded beaches and big waves.
D Song follows, combining a strong synth pulse with some fantastic beats and the first of Belle’s backing vocals. It’s a beguiling mix.
R Mullen is a euphoric highlight, the electronics sounding crisp and providing a lively foreground to the thumping beats that crash about like waves in amongst them. It has a Moby like feel at times, especially with the mix of hummed male vocals or female backing harmonies running throughout (a mermaids’ call?).
But things keep getting better. Former single Film Burn is a lovely slice of slow-burn that fuses a wisp-ish synth loop around intricate guitar plucking and an ethereal vocal from Belle. The beats are more subtle but build into the type of offering that fellow Ninja label-mate Bonobo would be proud of.
Never Mess With Sunday is a feel-good moment that has a feel-good quality tailor-made for sun-drenched days, Happy To See You opens with a William Orbit flourish before maintaining the album’s sense of vitality, and Soon Enough slow-builds into another album favourite complete with more ethereal, even Bjork-like vocals from Belle to lend the track its distinct flavour. By the time it hits the three-minute mark it has beautifully transformed into a thrilling crescendo of layered beats and synths.
And yet there’s still time for Yppah to blow you away again with another of his intricately designed gems, Golden Braid, which excites once more with its emphatic beats and swirling electronics, and the Belle featuring Three Portraits, another beautifully composed offering that combines some fantastic electronics with more superb beats and interwoven guitar licks and more of those delicious vocals.
By the time Some Have Said rounds things off with another DJ Shadow-style fusion of hip-hop beats and subtle guitar licks you’ll be entirely smitten. The only criticism we have of the album, in fact, is that it has to end.
Download picks: Blue Schwinn, R Mullen, Film Burn, Soon Enough, Golden Braid, Three Portraits, Some Have Said