Sale price$36.95


After The Feeling introduced a wider audience to their high-concept collage punk, Naomi Punk spent their next two albums tweaking its scale: They tightened and sharpened it on Television Man, transforming it into modular anti-pop, but on Yellow they try something more radical -- which is saying something, since their music often feels like a direct challenge to the status quo. They embrace the indulgence of the double-album format, exploding their high-concept sounds and strewing them across 74 minutes and two personas, Naomi Punk and their alter-ego the Scorpions. As they incorporate found sounds, library music, and calls to smash the system into Yellow's expanse, they make some of the most challenging music of their career. The band begin the album with not one but two disorienting introductions, one of which prominently features bass (an instrument they don't normally use), while the claustrophobic "Chains" was one of the album's singles. Throughout Yellow, Naomi Punk force listeners to take the album at its own speed, and the deliberate pace of tracks like "Motorcade" suggests each song is a hard-won battle. Elsewhere, they juxtapose choppy with flowing, and pretty with ugly, in ways that feel like odd mutations: Oil slick guitars coat "Thru the Trees" without ever actually coalescing, and "Chernobyl Carrot" is fittingly warped and jumbled. The feeling that a polluted Earth is ready to take its revenge on humanity permeates songs as diverse as "My Shadow," which buries funky '80s pop under several tons of sludge, and the coded disaffection of "Yellow Cone Hat," where a mudslide that covers the freeway is just one of its unnatural disasters. Despite the emphasis on murky repetition that makes Yellow feel more like an extended meditation than a collection of songs (when Travis Coster sings "change my frame of mind" on "Chapter II," it sounds alternately like a wish, a command, and a mantra), it's undeniable that the clearest-sounding tracks are the most accessible, giving listeners some much-needed breathing room. Named after emblems of consumption and packaging, "Cookie" and "Cardboard" are even nimbler than Television Man's prototypes. Yellow's best moments may be even more dynamic than those of its predecessor, particularly on the glowering "Perfect" and "Journey to the Top"'s whispery menace and jackhammer guitars. And even though the Scorpions have the last word with "Scorpion Theme," its mix of lunging riffs and rain feel quintessentially Naomi Punk. Too often, though, Yellow's portraits of a toxic world feel so uncompromisingly dense that all but the most dedicated fans might appreciate the ideas behind the music more than the results.

You may also like

Recently viewed