In the Blow, Jona Bechtolt is the beatmaker behind the curtain, producing beats that Khaela Maricich flails her voice upon with a reckless, girlish charm. In Bechtolt's side project, Yacht, not much has changed. The instrumentation is still the same, but with the absence of Maricich, the focus shifts to the intricacies of computerized drum splicing mixed with minimal keyboard bass-taps and flourishes over organic guitar loops. The styles still recall a variety of elements, from Underworld to Depeche Mode to MIA, but the big difference here is that without Maricich, there is more open space, which results in a more experimental tone. Instead of her awkward and cute vocals taking center-stage, Bechtolt sings sporadically along with a number of guest vocalists. The songs often feel more like raw dance anthems than pop songs, with a handful of words repeated like a mantra that weaves throughout the song's drum fills and intersecting guitars in a sample-based loop. Half of the songs resonate with Claire L. Evans singing in a tone and style similar to Maricich, but in a slightly deeper register, and nearly all of the tracks feature Bechtolt singing proudly in a weary and nasal style like James Murphy-meeting-MC Paul Barman. Indie-electro crooner Bobby Birdman makes a guest appearance on "Platinum" and sounds like a seasoned professional in comparison. This isn't to say the amateurish vocal styles detract from the record. On the contrary, it adds a whimsy (think Tom Tom Club) that works perfectly with the beats. This playfulness also enhances the album's themes of learning through childlike wonder, with a number of songs encouraging the listener to gain happiness by focusing on the little things in life and doing what you love. While this solo attempt could have so easily been chalked up as a lackluster side project comparable to an indie pop version of Timbaland recording an album without Missy Elliott, it instead sounds like another album by the Blow, heavy on quirky jams, and light on depth, which is exactly what makes Yacht so lovable.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover
feat: Bobby Birdman
feat: Eats Tapes