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On June 21st YACHT released Shangri-La, their second album for DFA Records and the follow-up to their critically acclaimed full-length, See Mystery Lights. Shangri-La is the duo’s most thematically ambitious work to date; it showcases an exponential evolution in their songwriting and ability to produce sharp, surreal hooks. YACHT has offered a glimpse into Shangri-La with the release of the darkly anthemic track, “Dystopia (The Earth is on Fire).” The pair, consisting of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, describe the song as an “apocalyptic fight song, a cautionary tale, a science-fiction story for our particular eco-sociopolitical landscape.”
The lyrical themes of “Dystopia (The Earth is on Fire)” are echoed throughout the conceptually unified Shangri-La. As opposed to the meditative, mantra-esque quality of See Mystery Lights, Shangri-La is a narrative work. The album explores mankind’s eternal pursuit of Utopia with compelling pop melodies, fiercely druggy grooves and YACHT’s endlessly diverse canon of influences – some musical, but largely not – as the soundtrack. In its essence, the message here is that the future is a blank slate upon which anything can be imposed. Shangri-La is literally YACHT’s idea of Utopia: a place made of songs.
Never a band to stay in one place sonically, visually, or philosophically, YACHT have transformed themselves, recording in a studio for the very first time and opting to use more live instrumentation, in addition to electronics, than ever before. Locked in a studio in the West Texas desert without an engineer, the kaleidoscope of genres they manifested together ranges from disco to psychedelia, from krautrock to punk, culminating in pure pop.
Bechtolt and Evans mixed, recorded, and performed Shangri-La. The Utopian illustration featured in the album’s encyclopedic cover design was painted by iconic science fiction illustrator Jim Burns, three-time Hugo Award-winner.
Release date: Jun 27, 2011