Yes, someone still loves you SSLYBY, ‘cos we definitely do and all the more because 'Fly By Wire' is a triumphant return from a relatively quiet period, creatively speaking. In fact the last Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin album was 2010’s ‘Let It Sway’, although we did review the 2011 B-Sides compilation 'Tape Club'.
'Fly By Wire' marks a return to a DIY style of self-production and the result is a joyous and rather delicate album of terrific pop songs. The back to basics approach apparently included a trawl through founder member Will Knauer’s dad’s old record collection, including Fleetwood Mac and Talking Heads. Curiously, when I first listened to the album I couldn’t get comparisons with 'Mr Blue Sky'-era Electric Light Orchestra out of my head and 'Cover All Sides' could be a Jeff Lynne track.
But the thing is, despite the beauty of the pop songs here they retain a bittersweet quality that means they never irritate – you could call them acid pop maybe. Nicely constructed, distinctive melodies with unusual arrangements and on the whole eschewing the more clichéd side of indie.
When SSLYBY’s rockier tendencies do finally emerge on 'Nightwater Girlfriend' the song morphs into a funky tune that recalls TV On The Radio, and closing title track 'Fly By Wire' is a quite ambitious song that explores similar territory with layers of reverb drenched vocals, off kilter slide guitar lines and organ.
Before we get to the end however, we should have enjoyed the confident opening of 'Harrison Ford' and 'Young Presidents' both positive tunes, and Phil Dickey’s love song for his dog 'Loretta' that really typifies the album’s neo-retro approach. There’s also the rather simple but lovely 'Ms. Dot' which might be my favourite track.
So by now you will have gathered that I have a great affection for this album. It certainly represents a subtle but definite shift in Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s music and perhaps it is no coincidence that this marks the point at which the band and long time member John Robert Cardwell have decided to part company. Taking back control of the whole process has resulted in a sharp sounding record that unusually for a band in their eleventh year could be the finding of a musical voice.
'Fly By Wire' is out now, and available to purchase from amazon.co.uk etc. Find more info at sslyby.com.