By Yes Boss
I'm not sure whether it would be sensible to say anything negative about Yes Boss. If the lyrics are to be believed then the wrong side of Noah is clearly not the place to be. It comes as some relief, therefore, that there's very little to be negative about with their debut long player.
To the local crowd several of these tunes will be familiar. Various single releases have been analyzed in-depth within these very annals, of course. And more than that, those of us lucky enough to live within the LS postal area have had ample opportunity to experience their explosive live act. But if all of this has served a valuable purpose in making us aware of the Yes Boss phenomenon, I'd still say that the album is more than worthy of an attentive listen.
I'm not sure that I would want to condone the cycle of provocation and violence that Noah seems to espouse (theft of girlfriend / inevitable contretemps with associated bloke / rendering said bloke's visage unrecognizable except through reference to dental records) but it makes for several entertaining vignettes. All the while there is, at least, an indication ('Troublin', 'Tongues in Knots') that this guy is as human as the rest of us, in spite of all the bravado.
These rhymes are, for the most part, the stuff of inspired brilliance. I doubt that even Shakespeare came up with quite so many metaphors for GBH as this, the most graphical depiction being "...don't act in proper ways / So I'll make your face look like bolognese / Your mother's looking solemn / Picking up bits of your spinal column" ('Hospital Time'). It doesn't set out to amuse in the way that, say, fellow white boy grimester Example does (laying falsetto rhymes over Carpenters samples and the like) but it still raises a smile against the grim lyrical backdrop.
The album's beats, as supplied by Gavron, are generally pretty solid. For the most part we are faced with a complimentary soundtrack that chimes nicely with the words. Samples are largely drawn from resonant electronica, but the use of lush strings on some tracks acts as a useful counterpoint to the lyrics. Anyone who's seen these boys play live will know that this stuff is, indeed, danceable.
This album could be summarized by the four-play that commences with 'Indie Kids'. That track is a sure-fire winner, benefiting from the inspired use - on this version - of a guitar riff lifted directly from (I imagine) one of the very bands targeted by the lyric. Next up we have the dud that is 'Blow Dart'. Previously inspired beats are replaced by an ill-chosen bunch of random noise plus, alas, a chipmunk chorus. Erudite words suddenly give way to the likes of 'Live in Burley / 'Cos I'm burly' and, generally, the outfit suddenly seem like a tawdry joke.
But it's a minor blip. 'Tongues in Knots' makes use of inspired vocals from Tom ˇForward,Russia! - the inspired combination being documented in someone else's single review, passim. By 'Yes Boss' standards, this is lyrical profundity of the highest order. And next we have 'See It Through'. This has to be the most danceable track of the album, and probably the most positive lyric. This would appear to see Noah lapse into some sort of sung delivery, and he does it well. It's a catchy line backed with a catchy tune. Who could ask for more?
So, out of that sample we've got three sure-fire winners, and one dud. This 3:1 ratio applies to the album in general. It isn't flawless, but when it hits, it hits hard. There are a couple of outings that really miss the mark, but mostly this stuff invites you into Noah's world. You may end up wondering how the guy copes with this sort of existence, but mostly you'll just end up raising a wry smile and - quite possibly - dancing around your living room in the process. Thanks for sticking with it, guys.