The Yev, I Wanna Hollywood (out now, self-released, yevtushenko.bandcamp.com)
Formed in November 2012, this Seattle troupe has released three EPs and this 13-song debut LP. In the hands of less capable musicians, quantity might result in compromised quality; however, with Hollywood, The Yev has expanded its sound. On its debut EP, Do, the trio projects a punk/garage-rock ethos through a variety of experimental electronics, and the resultant noise was an integral part of the package. The new album experiments with melody and rhythm instead of noise—a shift most evident when comparing the versions of “One Cup of Coffee” on both Do and Hollywood. On the original, the band livens up a two-chord guitar riff with noisy waves of distortion and feedback, supported by rumbling drums; it relies too heavily on effects for effects’ sake, while the new arrangement gets rid of most of the distortion and the drummer lays down a more conventional rock beat. The feeling adds to the album’s overall tone, which is something like Sleater-Kinney meets David Bowie.
The opening track, “Well of Time,” features a straight-ahead rock riff in the guitar while the drums and vocals emphasize different beats, resulting in a danceable song that does its best to trip you up. Lyrically, the album is rather minimal, with many songs consisting of only a few repeated lines; “Bright,” for instance, begins with the words “I see bright inside/I feel bright inside/I am bright inside.” But the themes of vulnerability and self-esteem that pervade Hollywood add emotional weight. For a band that’s been together only a short time, The Yev works hard to test musical boundaries in interesting ways.