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Aural Pleasure Review

Yoshimoto: 'Lemmings to the Sea'

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The press release for Yoshimoto's debut Lemmings to the Sea describes the album as a "portentous loadstone." Releases seldom get it so right (it does arrive eight years after their formation). Yoshimoto claim the "post punk" moniker and admit a strong debt to Sonic Youth but are restless style nomads. Album opener "Cascarones" is an American Football-esque slice of emo, complete with a synth-bed fade-in and a melancholic-yet-heroic guitar theme. Compare that to the stormy, Bloc Party-esque suite of "Chair" and "Private Browsing" that follows. Hooks are scant. Yoshimoto traffic in tidy, harmonious waves of loud and not-so-loud, interjected with lengthy solos and lengthier breakdowns as detours. Meanwhile, Zach Sokoloski and Tiffany Farias are detached, often blunt vocalists. On "Super Junior," Farias chronicles the inner dialogue of a woman discovering she's in an abusive relationship. "Lemmings" offers a concise, if unimaginative, commentary on media bias. But both singers allow their guitars, plus bass by Jason Butterworth and drums by Mauricio Gudiño Jr., to buoy their emotional resonance. Sonically, Lemmings is winding, maybe too long, and requires much unpacking, but that's why it's memorable. In a city full of half-hour LPs, Yoshimoto are offering a post punk labor of love.

★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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