Yoko is easily Beulah’s darkest release yet, favoring directness over the band’s established brand of Elephant 6-endorsed sunshine pop. The band still churns out some absolutely irresistible tunes, though — it’s the detailed complexity and playfulness of the performances that really set Yoko apart from your regular psych-pop release. Check the wonderful guitar part on “Landslide Baby,” or the lovely, extended last half of album closer “Wipe Those Prints And Run.” Beulah approach their music with unbridled curiosity, lending each song its distinctive nature. And the band’s eye for details pays off: the album is given an air of irresponsible fun, even in the face of the music’s overwhelming melancholy. Yoko may be a bit harder to grasp than Beulah’s former releases, and at times the music’s relative hardness seems vague and detached coming from such a warm-sounding band. But the sheer strength of the album somehow halts any such attempts at criticism. Yoko proves that Beulah remain an exciting and ever-creative band, still able to surprise the listener, even when most of us thought we had them figured out.
Velocette Records: http://www.velocetterecords.com/