s been six years since new music has been released by Abbotsford, B.C.s electro-rock band You Say Party, and for good reason. In 2010, drummer Devon Clifford, passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm, leading to the band, formerly known as You Say Party! We Say Die!, to take a break from music. Fast forward to 2016, and after an obvious name change and taking a new direction away from the more punk-influenced dance tracks from earlier albums, the quartet has a self-titled 8-song LP coming out this Friday, February 12, from Paper Bag Records.
There is more of an ambient feel to this album, with more atmospheric beats and echoing vocals from Becky Ninkovic. They made an executive decision while making You Say Party to not replace Clifford on drums, and to instead have drum machines. It works well with the songs, especially “Underside”, where there are multiple layering of beats with bass and guitar.
The album begins with “112”, a bass driven, smoldering piece, with muted vocals peeking through the instrumentals until the rocking chorus. This is a great start to the album, letting the listener get buckled in for a new experience with Becky, Stephen O’Shea (bass), Krista Loewen (keyboards), and Derek Adam (guitar).
Next up is the first single from You Say Party, “Ignorance”. The more upbeat feel is a nod back to their last album XXXX, with the blend of rock and electronic influences. The guitar lines are prominent, bringing to mind their earlier works as well, while staying in the ambient feel of the album.
“Friend” is the following track, showcasing the synths known in each and every song by the band, creating a darker rock anthem, supported by heavy beats during the chorus. This is perfect accompaniment for the theme of loss in the lyrics, with lines such as “I can’t see my friend no more, he’s gone for good, he’s gone for sure.” The above mentioned “Underside” is fourth, then it’s “Sleepyhead”.
This song has a ominous feeling, with the echoing bass drum and the humming vocals and synths in the background. The listener is transported to a wide space with these effects, taking them out of their lives and into a new place, expertly crafted by You Say Party.
“Fortitude”, the following instrumental track, keeps the atmospheric vibe, while also being as a comedown track. With the loftiness of the instruments blending together, this track would be great for a late-night drive or an after-party listen. The ballad “Sweet Divine” puts Becky’s unique voice on full display, with minimalist waves of synths at the beginning, and the guitar and bass swelling into the chorus. This continues throughout, giving the song an oceanic feel, with an audible ebb and flow to the music.
The final song on the LP is “Heading in the Direction of the Rising Sun” a triumphant end to a great comeback record. The song is reflective of the slower, less dancy tracks from You Say Party’s previous records, with glowing vocals and a steady depth of sound to the synths and drum beats.
This is a fantastic record. I’ve been hoping for a new album from these guys and my wishes have definitely been answered. Make sure to grab You Say Party this Friday, and check out their release show also this Friday at Milk Glass in Toronto and at The Lido in Vancouver on the 20th.
Photo used with permission from band’s Twitter page