Perhaps it makes sense that a band like Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin felt the need to give themselves a name as such, because otherwise, if they were called something monosyllabic and with a definite article they would run the risk of becoming lost and obscured in the vast, vast music world. Luckily for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, they have managed to find possibly the most bothersome, yet memorable, name in recent history (other contenders: I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Cute Is What We Aim For, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the latter mainly because of its variable exclamation point placement), which certainly helps in distinguishing them from the other simple, poppy piano-and-guitar-driven ensembles. The band, which actually self-released their debut, Broom, in their hometown of Springfield, MO, in 2005, posted some songs on their website, and soon became critics' darlings (a story that disarmingly resembles that of onetime blogosphere faves Tapes 'n Tapes, who have since fallen out of favor), signing to Polyvinyl, who then remastered and re-released the album to the general public. Broom, which was recorded in lead guitarist Will Knauer's home, unsurprisingly sounds a lot like something that was recorded in someone's home in that quirky, indie rock way, the occasional background noise, a sloppily played acoustic guitar note, mixed in with their Shins-inspired melodies and Elliott Smith-layered vocals. It ends up being endearing, however, bringing a kind of honesty to their music, something also seen in their straightforward, earnest lyrics. "Pangea, we used to be together/Why'd we have to drift apart?" singer John Robert Cardwell quips in the opener, a Ben Kweller-influenced piece with bright electric guitars and candid statements -- including the occasional non sequitur -- and becoming more serious and introspective in "House Fire" ("We did what we could to save this house from falling/But it burns because it's wood and now you'll never call me darling") while never straying from their inviting choruses and Weezer-like harmonies. Broom is fun and bright but not frivolous, wholly catchy and warm, but it's these same things that also place the band in a group to which timing is everything, and whose popularity is indebted to the ever-mercurial Internet, which can turn on its former beloved without warning. The question is if Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is more than just another trend, if they're lasting enough to survive until another album; they're definitely good, but if they're good enough to actually carry themselves musically instead of relying on Shins comparisons and former Soviet leaders is still uncertain. Let's just hope, for the sake of band names to come if nothing else, that the same fate doesn't befall them as did their eponym, or we could be in a big mess.
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AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown