YACHT began as a solo project by Portland’s Jona Bechtolt. After three releases, Claire Evans joined Bechtolt to cement YACHT’s electronic indie pop confections on 2009’s See Mystery Lights. Following the college radio success of that album, YACHT are now back with a brand-spankin’ new full length on DFA, Shangri-La. While the overall album doesn’t gel as cohesively as it’s predecessor, Shangri-La covers enough ground to keep it interesting, and contains a number of tracks that beg your booty to shake.
One of those booty shakers is the album’s first single, “Utopia.” “Utopia” opens the new album and hooks listeners in early with its incredibly catchy chorus and overt electropoppiness. Putting the icing on the dance pop cake, YACHT has released an EP collecting three remixes of “Utopia.” Each mix ventures pretty far from YACHT’s album version, to varying effect.
The Miracles Club remix builds a more traditional techno mix of the cut, looping a sample of Claire Evans’ vocals. While a departure from the original mix, it’s a little too obvious in its approach for me to really give it a high mark.
The White Rainbow revision is probably the most original of the remixes, and the one with the most differentiation from the album cut. It takes what seems to be the same loop as The Miracles Club remix, but the backdrop is less predictable and more adventurous. I’ll add that it’s also a bit funkier, which often garners more points from me.
But if we’re talking what would be the best remix to play at le disco on Planet Gonzo, I would go with the Jeffrey Jerusalem mix. The final mix on the EP, JJ retains the song’s basic lyrical structure, substitutes an electronic backdrop that is experimental enough yet inherently poppy and pulls off what I’ll say is the most club-ready remix on the EP. In that sense, the Jeffrey Jerusalem mix takes its creative liberties, but retains enough of the original to generate interest among folks who may not have heard YACHT before.
The only downside is that the EP doesn’t contain the excellent album cut. Still, the remixes are generally enjoyable and stand on their own. But I do recommend checking out Shangri-La as well. I gave it a B- for WIUP’s First Impressions program with the disclaimer that I think it may grow on me.
Below, check out the video for YACHT’s album version of “Utopia” and “Dystopia.”