Band: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Album: Fly By Wire
From: Springfield, Missouri
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) return with their fifth album since 2005 and first since 2011’s Tape Club, with the new release Fly By Wire. It’s an album that in many aspects was probably unexpected however as the band traveled back from Russia in 2012, the band stated that they wanted to as Phil Dickey stated, “I wanted to make a record before that feeling went away.” That feeling Dickey had was that his experience in Russia he explained, “renewed my belief that songs and words have power.” It’s something that is apparent on the album in comparison to the bands previous efforts, along with the bands ‘triumphant’ return to band member Will Knauer’s parents house where they recorded their debut album Broom.
Broom when it was released was at once hailed and critiqued because of its lo-fi sound, some of which returns on Fly By Wire but in a more controlled and mixed fashion then the first release of their debut. What the album lacks in that strictly lo-fi feel it gains in the addition of what can best be described as the things they’ve learned since those first attic recording sessions.
The album opens with the song, Harrison Ford with it’ piano intro that delves into a drum-machine beat that compliments the bass, piano, and guitar lines throughout the rest of the song. Young Presidents, the albums second song feels more like their more recent work but the melody and beat in the song gets me going. The first song that delves back into the Broom era feel is the albums third track. Cover All Sides, which. Songs, Lucky Young, Ms. Dot, and Loretta continue to give listeners a sneak peak back into the attic of old without really do much. Ms. Dot is probably the one the delves closest to that old lo-fi sound while Lucky Young and Loretta both hold more to the cleaner and brighter sounds favored in albums Pershing and Let It Sway. They all hold their own and but the middle of the album leaves a bit more to be desired then the first few songs and the back end of the album. Unearth begins the climb back out of the middle, with a clean and jangling song that while not being extraordinary holds the listener in a bit more. The highlight of the album for me is the next song, Bright Leaves where I feel Phil Dickey comments about words having power rings more true. It’s a relatively simplistic and mellow song that also probably does the best at stretching the gap between the bands beginning and its current sound. The lyrics say it all though:
“I’ll find a verse that will reverse all the times I let you down,
of course it’s worse for you than it ever was for me.
There’s probably a proverb or a parable that’s parallel to you and me.”
Nightwater Girlfriend the albums ninth song is possibly one of the bands best pop and punk sounding songs that they’ve ever written. It’s driving melody is not to be overshadowed by its outro which brings in a nice break and semi-introduction for the albums last song. The album’s title track, Fly By Wire, probably is the best representation of the album and what the band was trying to do as an ode to the past but with an eye to the future. It’s as Dickey put it after joking about how they used to say they would break out if Boris Yeltsin or some connection found out about them like the Boris Yeltsin Foundation did while they were in Russia. “[So] I figured this was either the death or rebirth of the band.”
That’s something to think about while listening to the album and as a fan of the majority of their previous work I think this was a good attempt at compromise. However, it lacked in some parts, of which was mainly the middle of the album. I think are what brings the album down for me but I’m also open to keep on listening to it. I might not have given those songs the attention they deserve but that’s while I’ll end it on this note, that there were songs towards the middle of each of their albums that I had a hard time getting into at first. Will this album be similar in that respect? I don’t know but what I do know if you are a fan of their previous efforts you should find at least something that will perk your ear in this one.
Harrison Ford: 8.5/10
Young Presidents: 9/10
Cover All Sides: 7.5/10
Lucky Young: 6.5/10
Ms. Dot: 6.5/10
Bright Leaves: 9.5/10
Nightwater Girlfriend: 9/10
Fly By Wire: 8/10