Despite claiming to aim for a more simplistic record, Yo No Say’s indie rock “Inner” EP, out Friday, October 13, is anything but. Electronic elements are thrown into the mix as well as smooth R&B-inspired vocals, and lyrical themes are all over the place.
The EP is a “journey from outside in,” according to the band’s bio. It travels through the stories of a refugee, an inner-city American teacher, love, communication and technology, and finally the influences on one’s thoughts. If that sounds scattered and all over the place, it’s about right. This rings true in the album’s sound as well; although individual songs are predictable, waves of intensity alternate with smooth dreaminess until “golden calf,” a chaotic darker track near the end of the EP.
That’s not to say that individual songs are bad, however. Each melody is plenty catchy, and tracks are just simple enough to keep from sounding contrived. “lock” begins light and airy with light instrumentals, building to a metallic guitar bit in the bridge, whereas “lampshade” is frantic, rocking, and anxiety-inducing and “queen” is slow and sultry, even throughout the more powerful chorus.
Every song could use more bass and less soprano in the background instrumentals, but the only track I dislike is “golden calf,” because despite the intricate rhythm work, it stands out among the rest of the album in its chaotic edginess. It sounds like Yo No Say is trying too hard, especially after claiming that they aimed for simple on this EP.
It feels as though these five tracks should be their own individual works. At the very least, “golden calf” should be taken out of the EP and released separately; it’s a far cry from the undulating dreaminess on the rest of “Inner.” However, individual songs are solidly catchy indie rock, and if you want to hear more before the EP’s official release on October 13, check out the stream below.