Yuppies, Yuppies [Dull Tools]
Though formed back in 2007, Omaha, Nebraska quartet Yuppies’ eponymous debut finds a champion only now, with Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage releasing the album on his own Dull Tools imprint. Savage chimes in on the press release and likens Yuppies to “loner-poet” predecessors like William Burroughs. It’s an eye-brow raising claim, to which here’s another: Yuppies recalls the feverish denunciations of America that Henry Miller expressed in his Air-Conditioned Nightmare – all rabbithole allegories that fold upon each other until the point is nearly lost but the impassioned linguistic feat remains. There’s a lot of existential terror in a culturally deprived Midwest vacuum on this album, but as Miller ultimately grows to love the unreliable jalopy carrying him across this country, Yuppies’ deft performances and baffling song-craft are the spoils of sweat and spittle spilt in the region’s basements. Without America, we’d have neither Miller’s book nor Yuppies’ debut.
If the six year gap between formation and Yuppies’ debut LP causes readers alarm, it’s because we’re conditioned to a press cycle that hypes the newest package within months of gigging or even before the first show (and usually conspicuously boasts members’ prior credentials.) As the window for critically praising a new band narrows, some groups end up stale news before they’ve had time to congeal as a unit or realize collaborative potential between players. Consider the whole host of NYC punk and new wave bands whose classic debuts appeared on major labels in 1977 and 1978 – most were playing together for several years prior. Lengthy gestation periods are now the exception, but Yuppies makes a case for them. It illustrates the vitality that years of chiseling and refinement instills in a young rock band.
Yuppies’ tracks flow seamlessly into one another. It’s a clue that they were honed live, or in rigorous rehearsal sessions that bled songs together with segues to counter the tedium of practice. There are chops learned in a bedroom through ascetic commitment to an instrument, and there are chops hardened through constant gigging and loud rehearsals. Yuppies brings the latter to mind. The drummer plays for precision, sure, but he’s also berating the kit like he just wants to be heard over guitar cabs in a basement without any pro live sound amenities. “What’s That?” and “Easy Nights” are album highlights, but part of their charm is the former’s towering outro crashing into the latter’s punchy intro. The bridge makes the grass greener on both sides.