What do you get when you combine all the great elements of pop punk and mix them with a splash of Ramonescore? You get the first self-titled album from the Brazilian band, The Yodees!
Clocking in at just under 23 minutes, The Yodees let you know that they’re playing for a specific pop punk audience… and the bands that inspire them can be heard throughout each of the nine songs on the album. What you won’t hear is music that’s played in malls, mainstream radio or movie soundtracks. This album isn’t for fans of New Found Glory or Simple Plan… and that’s what I love about it. The Yodees remind the punk rock world that there’s another type of pop punk that’s alive and well, and won’t be found in Hot Topic.
Perhaps one of the most impressive things about this album is the amazing sound quality it possesses. Most bands take a few albums to dial in their sound and figure out how it should be captured on a record. It is clear The Yodees took their time with their debut and added the right amount of polish to produce an overall cohesive album in both sound quality and song selection. The tempos vary as well as the moods of each of the nine songs on this album, and each one tells a different story of falling in love, falling out of love, being foolish and growing up.
With their first song, “Better Without Love,” The Yodees knock on your door with a thunderous drum intro reminiscent of the Methadones, Mopes and even the Huntingtons. It’s a great way to introduce the band and prepare listeners for the type of punk they’re about to take in. The song touches upon a familiar subject matter that most other pop punk bands dabble in from time to time: a relationship about to end. But rather than talk about it in a celebrated and snotty way, The Yodees approach the subject in a more reserved and mature manner with a sound to match. There’s guitars with the right amount of chugging and drums that propel the song forward while keeping it interesting with tasty, but simplistic fills. The Yodees aren’t here to overplay. They fit right into the pop punk pocket musically and keep you comfortable and wanting more of what’s familiar.
“Loony” begins with a classic Ramonescore tom intro and count off that would make Dee Dee smile. Immediately, chainsaw guitars you’d hear from any great Screeching Weasel song kick in along with a driving and catchy vocal melody. We were warming up before, but now this album is cooking. This is the song I didn’t know I was waiting for, and now that it’s here I can’t wait to learn the words. This song has everything, including a silly chorus that I know you’ll be caught singing along to, even if you don’t mean to.
About halfway through the album we’re given “The Vitamin Shoppe Girl”… a ballad about a guy with a crush on you guessed it, a Vitamin Shoppe girl. It tells the story of a day in the life of a man desperate to talk to the girl of his dreams. We’ve all been there one way or another… and this connection along with the catchy verse and chorus make this one catchy tune. It’s serves as a nice break after the upbeat “Loony” and introduces layered backups that remind me of every great Queers ballad. The line, “Vitamin Shoppe Girl, you’re everything that my body needs,” is a cheeky play on words. Is it access to all the vitamins that your body needs or something else? I’ll have to ask him in person.
After a couple mid tempo songs comes “Everybody Is Growing Up (But Me)” and we’ve officially thrown a few more logs on the fire. A crunchy guitar intro leads into a Kody Lillington style chord progression. Just like the songs that have come before it, this song has everything that makes up a great song: a strong verse, well thought out pre-chorus, and chorus that just makes you want to point your fist in the air and sing along. “Everybody is Growing Up (But Me)” tells the story of a friend that everyone has, or at least I have. A friend that is a little behind in life… not married, no kids, and feeling hopeless while watching other friends achieve these milestones. The beginning of the song has the character questioning whether or not he’s the one who’s wrong and if he should be feeling sorry for himself. Towards the end we’re given another perspective… when he realizes that while he may not have all the things his friends enjoy, he’s still able to “live his prime” while being debt free.
The Yodees debut album is a celebration of pop punk. Are they reinventing any wheels? No. But when you play in a sub genre of a sub genre that has a tight knit and loyal following you don’t have to. The Yodees will do well, because they do their style of pop punk well. As this debut album demonstrates… even the simplest and easiest style of music, when done great, makes an impact and can stay with you… maybe even bring you back for a few more listens. Listening to this S/T is almost like listening to an amazing pop punk compilation, only there’s one band. The mix of mid tempo songs, ballads, and rippers creates an amazing rollercoaster effect that has a perfectly executed arrangement. I hope to see these guys tour the US in the future. I already know we’ll be hearing more from them.