If one were to ask me what I thought of the new album by Seattle synth-punk quintet, the Girls, my answer would pretty much exactly resemble the title of said new album. In other words, I’m torn. So, what’s the dilemma? Well, it’s fairly easy to explain. The Girls are incredibly good at what they do, following in the short-burst high-energy electro-punk footsteps as Devo, Wire and the Buzzcocks. But, as can be gathered from the same sentence, it’s been done before. There’s nothing in Yes No Yes No Yes No that made me want to click the repeat button for further listens.
The album is a rapid-fire 25 minutes, drums tinnily rapping, guitar chords churning out staccato riffs with robot-like precision and vocals that ape the British punk affectations of Pete Shelley or Johnny Rotten. As a short piece of new wave punk homage, it succeeds, balling up potential energy in a package so tight that it has nothing to do but explode. Yet, as something to progress the genre, forge new paths or stir anything below the surface, Yes No Yes No Yes No seems at least half aptly titled.
I would imagine that hearing the Girls perform such energetic tracks such as “Where Wolves Drink” and “Transfer Station” would be a blast, and probably where these `Girls’ excel, but on record I’m left cold. Listen to the first ten seconds of every song and tell me it doesn’t feel like you’re simply listening to bits of video game soundtrack. And that is essentially what we’re reduced to with most `popular’ bands these days. The only way to make any money is to license your material, and thus it behooves the band to create something of a type. I’m not saying the Girls did this. As I stated earlier, they’re obviously quite good at playing music of this ilk. What I am saying is that Yes No Yes No Yes No is as conflicted as its title suggests. Once the final track, the aptly titled “Point of Departure” peters out, and it does peter out, one is left wondering what the purpose of the last half hour seemed to be.
Devo- Oh No! It’s Devo!
The Cars- Panorama
Buzzcocks- Love Bites