Some artists might decide to have a deep and meaningful reason behind the title of their album. In the case of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s newest work, however, The High Country was chosen for purely the reason that it sounded good. Unlike their previous work, SSLYBY’s (just one of those names that really needs shortening) The High Country aims to encapsulate the band’s live sound, with attention to new levels of distortion their previous studio offerings haven’t reached.
Opening Line On You sets the mood for how complex the record intends to be – well, very. Every level of instrumental bears a new level of complexity, take the fast riffs that are all but masked, or the summery instrumental that plays its part in the second half of the song. As the album pans out, a hint of The Front Bottoms creeps into the lyrics, noticeably in second Step Brother City.
In contrast, third Goal Mind allows the vocals to take the backseat and let the raw, live instrumental to drive the sound, coasting along with a hint of beach pop splashed in. Turning again in a new direction, Full Possession Of All Her Powers has a feeling of Counting Crows’ Earthquake Driver resonating in the opening, a vaguely country sound flickering through it.
The ballad that is Madeline feels as though it began as an acoustic number, built up and fuzzed up with the studio recording, which again proves almost overpowering in What I Won. Whilst this does its job in creating a sound that’s likely to mimic that of their performance, it seems a shame to mask something as well executed as the vocals SSLYBY provide.
Returning to the age old pop punk sound that the music uses as a springboard, there’s a timeless feel to Trevor Forever, a more roughed up and Garbage-y sounding version of You Blew It!’s work. The rest of the eleven track continue with this raw sound, chopped up riffs in Foreign Future and the thick minute and a half blast of Song Will. Closing Total Meltdown winds up the bold, raw sound, an apt finale.
It’s easy to see how the band have developed their sound, and in many ways loosened it, to make it more reminiscent of a live performance, and it works well as a selling technique to go to a gig of theirs.