Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – The High Country (Polyvinyl Records)

Missouri indie poppers turn it up for their fourth full-length

Released Jun 1st, 2015 via Polyvinyl / By Henry Bainbridge
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – The High Country (Polyvinyl Records) When the Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990’s Boris Yeltsin became the elected face of a progressive, democratic Russia. A former Communist official who was admired (by most) for his anti-corruption stance and conciliatory attitude to international politics. He was also a reckless boozehound with a frankly loose grip on the reins. Bill Clinton tells a story of White House security finding Yeltsin wandering Washington DC in his underwear attempting to procure a cab and a pizza. As the Russian economy tanked it’s way towards the end of the millennium the new hope left office with an approval rating of 2%.

A year later, in the Ozark Mountain City of Springfield, Missouri, Will Knauer and Phillip Dickey name their new band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It will be half a decade before they release their first full-length album.

This Southern city nestled comfortably into the Bible belt seems an unlikely place for a Ruski-referencing power-pop combo to find success but over the last decade SSLYBY have stealthily worked themselves a reputation for quirky and inventive pop craft. Broom (2005) was a lo-fi home-recorded effort, Pershing (2008) moved into more polished whimsy, and Let It Sway (2010) heralded the introduction of chunky riffs. It should come as little surprise then that The High Country continues this organic evolution with crisp studio production and the amps cranked louder than ever.

The record wriggles and kicks through the first four takes, channelling a gamut of West Coast sunshine pop and college radio punk rock. There are catchy hooks sprinkled liberally throughout and lead-off track 'Line On You' is as strong an opener as has we've heard recently and should soon become a mainstay of the band's live set. 'Step Brother City', with its jangling guitars and whooping chorus will likely be finding it's way onto Indie disco dance-floors post haste.

However, the stripped-back ballad 'Madeline' comes as somewhat a downer and, despite repeat listening, never seems to fit at that stage in the ‘set’; SSLYBY have stated that they wanted this record to reflect more of their live experience and it is these sort of odd choices that could sink a live show. As such, the following cut, 'What I Won' feels like a sluggish dirge that serves only to satisfy space and time before we can get back to having it with 'Trevor Forever', a stomping concrete slab of punky good times.

Take time to dig into this record and take the little rough with the smooth and you're setting yourself up for a fine time here.