KCRW Exclusive: YACHT – Stream “Shangri-La”

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Stream the title track off YACHT’s new album “Shangri-La” below, hear the full album here, and read more about the band below!

From KCRW DJ Marion Hodges:

YACHT sure has come a long way since his humble “quirky guy with a lap top” beginnings.  In fact he’s now no longer merely a he, but a very mighty they.

It was with this addition of Claire L. Evans that YACHT hit it’s stride.  Named for the alternative education program that YACHT frontman Jona Belchtolt was enrolled in as a teenager (Young Americans Challenging High Technology), and not the fancy boats that rich people sip champagne on, YACHT keeps that spirit of an alternative world view alive in all of their songs.

From last year’s break out hit “Psychic City (Vodoo City) to the previous album’s “Women of the World,” which clocks in at just under two minutes and contains only the lyrics “Women of the world, take over, cause if you don’t the world will come to an end, and it won’t take long.”

Women of the World,” in fact closed the 2007 album, “I Believe in You, Your Magic is Real”.

Surely not coincidentally, the next time we heard from YACHT, the aforementioned woman had joined the band.  The sense of collaboration could be felt, and it was clear that the real life couple of Belchtolt and Evans were a natural musical team.

Ideas and sensibilities felt mutual, not to mention their very complimentary singing voices. There had also been a jump from the charming, and somewhat experimental Portland-based indie label Marriage records to the NYC indie-dance power house DFA.

The first single from the DFA era, “Summer Song,” was a revelation. The minimalism, and exuberance that had always marked the work of YACHT was still there, but sleeker effects were in place. The album it appears on, “See Mystery Lights, took that geek/sleek combo of “Summer Song“, and married it back to the true oddity that signifies YACHT‘s best songs.

Shangri-La”, however, is a concept album with a pretty clear message.  We can build a better world, but it starts with each of us treating each other better right now.

The album’s strongest track, “Paradise Engineering” plays out as a blissed out disco sermon, and it begins with Evans telling us that the world’s last unpleasant experience can be a precisely datable event if we concentrate on this concept of paradise engineering.

Each song leading up to this pinnacle presents various versions of a not-too-distant future, some euphoric, some very much not so.  Still the underlying theme is the same in each song — love and positivity toward each other are the only things that will ensure us reaching that preferred euphoric state.

If this all sounds like way too much of a head trip for a pop record, take comfort in the fact that it all plays out over impeccably crafted, and incredibly light hearted dance music.  It’s really the cohesiveness, and the assertive playfulness of the music that makes this whole album work so well.   

–Marion Hodges

“Shangri-La” Tracklist

01 Utopia

02 Dystopia (The Earth is on Fire)

03 I Walked Alone

04 Love in the Dark

05 One Step

06 Holy Roller

07 Beam Me Up

08 Paradise Engineering

09 Tripped & Fell in Love

10 Shangri-La

Photo by Alin Dragulin