Yoo Doo Right Find Transcendence Through Repetition on 'A Murmur, Boundless to the East'
Published Jun 09, 2022They favour arena-intended equipment from the 1970s for quality and sheer volume. Their live shows can reach eyeball-rattling decibel levels. Their modus operandi is playing music that can be felt both emotionally and — especially — physically. From a small arsenal of instruments, Yoo Doo Right build roads and horizons meant for catastrophic rapture.
The Montreal trio's 2021 debut full-length, Don't Think You Can Escape Your Purpose, was based on the idea of building a life one loves, prioritizing feeding the soul rather than paying the bills. It in turn stationed the outfit as skilled students of Montreal's lauded experimental post- and experimental rock scenes while also showcasing them charting their own path, injecting krautrock, psych and shoegaze into the mix for added flavour and urgency, transposing the inner turmoil of its concept into worlds that hang in the balance.
To harness the band's momentum, their sophomore LP, A Murmur, Boundless to the East, was recorded by Montreal music vet Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (of Jersualem in My Heart) at the city's renowned Hotel2Tango studio, a longtime hub for many of the band's forebears. Vocalist-guitarist Justin Cober's search for sound in particular led him to running Mile End Effects, a pedal company that's served artists like John Dwyer (Osees), Big Brave and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. These tools of the trade are another contributor to the group's sonic signature, which only intensifies on this new album.
A Murmur's bookend tracks, opener "Say Less, Do More" and closer "Feet Together, Face Up, on the Front Lawn," are grippingly ebbing, surging and flowing. They reflect the inevitable ups and downs of those fateful concepts, with an emphasis on continuance. Though Cober's vocals occupy a relatively small part of the LP, only appearing on the aforementioned bookends, they serve to amplify their accompanying krautrock vamps. Throughout the latter track's 16-minute runtime, Cober cryptically repeats the words, "Tango / At least I could make you happy," and revels in its twisted ambiguity. On the former, ascending on synths, thunderous percussion and trembling violin courtesy of Silver Mt. Zion's Jessica Moss (Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra), he takes a more pointed approach: "All this noise makes us golden / Say less, do more," as the band fulfill their vocalist's promise by cranking things up. Cober has said in interviews that his lyrics are usually a phrase that's been rattling around his head — here, they seem streamlined for impact, declared like calls to action.
Even without vocals, Yoo Doo Right's messaging hits hard. "SMB" hammers on a hypnotic repetitive motif that grows in intensity until it's of skyscraper proportions, every sturdy story and glass window electrified. Standout "Dérive" evokes the band's oft-quoted attribution of being a car crash in slow motion, except here they've expanded the scene from its foreboding beginning to post-wreckage aftershock. John Talbot's ecstatic cymbals atop staccato drums drive the vision in perpetual motion. The feeling is like something's coming — an unknown threat lurking. Charles Masson's burly bass ducks and weaves while metronomic guitar notes streak the air like passing street lights, escalating into eventual payoff. It's like time slowing at collision, a feeling that's altogether fearful, hopeful and colossal. It's like an otherworldly rending of the earth, and from two tidal waves of noise the wasteland that remains is both devastated and beautiful, an enthralling gift of renewal.
By fusing their influences into increasingly moving and diverse forms while continuing to carve out their unique space in experimental rock, Yoo Doo Right advance their cosmic journey of seeking transcendence through mesmerizing repetition and volume. Dwelling in the micro and macro, A Murmur, Boundless to the East uses mood and force to address monumental notions that may never see resolution, yet will be resolved all the same. (Mothland)