Sunday, January 27, 2008

EP Review: Yummy Fight's "Round One"

by Dave Schaefer

Yummy Fight’s EP Round One is a somewhat schizophrenic 17 minutes, going from alt-garage to a ska-dabbling G. Love to suburban rap. This approach has the potential to be like trying to traverse the 70/71 split during rush hour on a Vespa -- an inevitable, pastel-painted crash-and-burn -- but Yummy Fight pulls it off, mostly due to the consistency of the vocals, which are simple, straightforward and at times clever. Though it’s true that collectively Yummy Fight's vocals don’t quite go together on every note, they try and for most of the songs that’s enough.

This recording definitely reveals an identity crisis -- or if not crisis, then perhaps confusion -- but it’s the listener that benefits from it. It creates a CD that is surprisingly appealing and shows the diversity that this band is capable of. It’s like buying a dozen doughnuts -- you may not prefer the filling of that frosted one as much as the one with sprinkles, but, hey, it’s a doughnut for crying out loud -- they’re all damn tasty.

The songwriting is surprisingly even, considering the different genres represented, and never do you lose sight that this is the same band, regardless of the displayed musical diversity.

But above all, it’s fun. Although at times if you listen hard enough you’ll find some lyrical depth, Round One seems to exist simply for the alt-pop/’burb-rap enjoyment of the listener. Perhaps a reflection of Yummy Fight itself.

Who knows -- Round Two could very well be a knock-out, if only a technical one. I know I for one will be buying a ticket for the next Yummy Fight.

Here’s the song-by-song rundown:

This track is a good introduction to Yummy Fight, revealing a bit of each of the genres that the band touches on in the following songs. The lyrics are clever and well-crafted and work well with the music that accompany them. I wish Dustin and Ian’s voices worked better together on this particular song -- something that may be smoothed over when they perform live with the addition of Daniel to backup vocals. It’s still a worthy song, however, and shows the songwriting talent of Dustin.

Need a Lotta Love
The G. Love/Jack Johnson comparison is inevitable with this song, but I’m going to fall short of considering that a criticism since the song is so damn addictive. It has a 50’s backbeat, a ska chorus, and a simplicity of lyrics that makes it easy to get stuck between your ears. Be warned -- after hearing this track, you’ll be singing it in your head all day.

The most pop of any of the songs on the EP, “Radio” has a distinct 80’s sensibility that lends the song an appealing retro feel. Another catchy tune -- yet incredibly short at only a couple seconds over two minutes -- that after only a couple listens you’ll find yourself singing along with.

Back To Ohio
The vocals on this track are a bit stronger than the overall song seems to warrant. The softer chorus relieves you temporarily, but then they hit you again for each of the verses. Having said that, I have to say that I like the song and I found it grew on me. It’s helped greatly by the story-telling lyrics which are well-written and crafted to near perfection, making up for much of what may not work with the rest of the song.

Gonna Get Up
This is Round One’s foray into suburban rap. Never do you make the mistake that these guys are urban in any sense, but Dustin pulls off the rap and actually sounds legitimate. A slower, deliberate track, the song is a dichotomous mix of both rap and emo and, surprisingly, it works well -- a testament to Dustin’s songwriting ability and the band’s ability to play it.

Just a Dream
This song grabs you immediately with it’s trippy, keyboarded vocals and keeps you going with a simply crafted and highly creative song. Another semi-rap track, it succeeds slightly better than “Gonna Get Up” due to Dustin’s more stylized vocals which work better here. A good closer to the EP.

Yummy Fight is:
Dustin DeRolph (guitar & lead vocals)
Jon Reeb (bass)

Ian Kupferberg (drums & vocals)

Daniel Harris (lead guitar & vocals -- Daniel is new to the band and isn’t featured on the EP)

EP recorded and mixed by Jonathan Julca @ Julca Studios
Mastered by Pretty Mighty Mighty’s Neal Schmitt from Workbook Studio

Songs written by Dustin DeRolph
Available on iTunes.

Upcoming show:
February 23 @ Andyman's Treehouse

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