YACHT: I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real

Criticizing YACHT's I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real makes me feel like that mean, old curmudgeon on your block who yells at kids when they step on his lawn or kicks over their sand-castles at the beach, especially when The Blow's Jona Bechtolt brings such high-spirited joy and energy to the undertaking. Bechtolt's not averse to mining pop history—“See A Penny (Pick It Up)” weds a herky-jerky groove with falsetto vocal melodies that are clearly indebted to “Miss You,” and a synth treatment of Kraftwerk's “We Are the Robots” vamp forms the foundational core of “Platinum”—not that there's anything wrong with that.

The best moments?: The electro-goth stomper “It's All The Same Price,” which cheekily segues into a squiggly, acid-rave segment by guests Eats Tapes halfway through (Bechtolt barking out the intro), and the jangly dub-jamboree and squirrely electro-pop of “So Post All ‘Em” and “The Magic Beat” respectively. Including a faux-tribal instrumental (“If Music Could Cure All That Ails You”) as a respite from the vocal cuts (though chanting voices do stream throughout) isn't objectionable either. Certainly the pitch for innocence and positivity in “Your Magic Is Real” (“When was the last time that you bought a hot dog? / When was the last time you swam in a pond?”) isn't unwelcome, but its cute delivery verges on annoying; the ‘Thank you' parade Bechtolt includes in “I Believe In You” and the overly self-indulgent vocal manipulations in “Drawing in the Dark” are off-putting too.

I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real is a palatable collection—Bechtolt's fecund powers of pop imagination and invention boldly assert themselves at every moment—but, even so, the album's too-cute moments grate, like the anti-materialist cheerleader shout (“We want all that stuff /All that stuff that costs too much”) that spoils an otherwise decent synth-pop riff in “We're Always Waiting.”

June 2007