A Few Minutes With… Yeah Universe on their Debut EP, “In Tandem.”
ALBANY – With their debut release, In Tandem, Yeah Universe proves the Capital Region is a veritable panoply of original and innovative music. Featuring textures, for example, that range from extremely crisp guitars – often sounding like rain drops on glass – to more of an overdriven sound, this record proves to be a very enjoyable listen.
Perhaps lending to this particular author’s own bias – I must admit I am a sucker for great guitar work – the really standout part of this album are the electric guitar parts. While the entire album is extremely well-arranged, mixed, and produced, there are lots of areas where the guitar work shines through.
Take, for example, the intro tune, “Lay Down.” The arpeggiated guitar pairs flawlessly with the synthesizer and drum parts. It’s also worth mentioning the vocals delivered on this track are reminiscent of some great indie rock sounds from the early 2000’s! The next track, “Stillwater,” flows seamlessly from the first. As the song progresses, we hear their use of minor chordal progressions and chromatic, melodic runs, that drift under, over, and around a very hazy vocal. This only reinforces the fact Yeah Universe certainly knows how to craft a captivating song.
Some of the ambient textures on this album tend to clash, but just before they become too uncomfortable, the songs end. A great example of this is on track three, “Skin the Fool.” It’s the uneasy nature of a song – guitar fills almost drown out part of the chorus, in this case – that can come as a risk/reward type of ideology. To this listener, the risk paid off, as my somewhat visceral response of “What the hell is going on here?!” drew me in for further inspection and listening.
As I mentioned earlier, the mixing and production on this record is stellar. While true that key examples of this exist throughout, I suggest paying close attention to track four, “What’s the Worst.” The band’s use of panning certain guitar parts to each side of the mix greatly assist in telling the overall sonic story of this track; it’s a very cascading ride. At times it feels as if you might be floating dangerously in air, though no one seems to care.
“Wasteland,” a very relaxing song, concludes this album. Consisting of simple drum and bass patterns during the intro, accompanied by guitars, horns, and synths, it’s a very mellow song. As the song ushers in its last chorus, it proceeds to quickly end as synth textures speed up and degrade into silence. A very quick fade, and abrupt ending make for a great conclusion.
For my tastes, this record surely fits right in. Saved to my streaming lists, it is sure to get some heavy rotation. The fact it’s a debut effort from Yeah Universe is another thing altogether. I was very happy to get a chance to sit down with Mike Vincent from the band over this weekend. Continue reading below to catch our discussion, and be sure to follow the link at the end of the article to help support the folks behind the record! You can listen to In Tandem on all major streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon.
Lucas Garrett: Thanks for taking some time for a chat, folks! Tell us a bit about In Tandem. How did this album come to be?
Mike Vincent: This album was born much like Frankenstein’s monster, pulling all of our favorite genres and influences and hammering them together through trial and error. Not that some parts didn’t happen organically, but there were plenty of failed experiments.
LG: Is there a principal songwriter on this particular record, or did you all come together for the songs?
MV: I came up with the majority of the song ideas and presented them to the band, then Nick (drums) and Zac (bass) helped me with solidifying the form and rhythm. Mary (vox/guitar) added her magic and Sam (vox/keys) slipped his synth and key textures in. Then there’s Stillwater which Mary wrote, which is probably the only song that didn’t get the Frankenstein treatment.
LG: Some of these sounds are so familiar to me, it was almost a nostalgic experience even though I’d never heard the songs before! Who are some of your creative influences?
MV: I can’t even begin to list the creative influences that helped shape this album, let alone what the rest of the band draws from, so I’m going to cop out of this question and just say Limp Bizkit.
LG: Limp Bizkit. Now, there’s a name, haha. Since this album is released, how do you folks plan to get the music out there? Any new plans on the horizon you’d like to discuss?
MV: We’re hoping to start playing out more around the northeast in the near future. We are also going back into the Studio with Tim Lynch at the recording company in January to start tracking the next album! As for getting the music out there, I’ve put a couple stickers in some inconspicuous spots at my local Stewart’s.
LG: Lastly, I know sometimes things can get missed and I certainly don’t want that to happen. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about before we wrap up our conversation?
MV: Thank you so much for the beautiful write-up and we look forward to hearing what you have to say about our next album! Also shout out to Joel, Elliot, Paul and Vinh!
LG: Thanks again for your time, and best of luck to you!