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YACHT: Shangri-La (DFA) 

YACHT's latest is more pop, and more of a party album, than 2009's See Mystery Lights, which was a bit more avant, a bit puckish. It wanted to toy with its audience's expectations, whereas Shangri-La just wants you to dance.

Cue "Paradise Engineering," "I Walked Alone," "Utopia" or any one of the 10 tracks on the album. Claire L. Evans imagines herself as Peaches' cleaned-up kid sister on "Paradise Engineering" when she repeats, "If you want me to be your father, I will be your dad." The bass is rubbery as hell; she substitutes "father/dad" with "mother/mom," "friend/friend" and "god/god." The song bends Devo-ward in its final minute, with strange hiccupping and synthetic crescendos.

The problem with YACHT is their blistered, post-millennial cool. Good party divas don't mind risking absurdity. Think Kate Pierson, Lady Miss Kier or even Debbie Harry, whose Cronenbergian iciness seems downright warm compared to Evans' unwavering flat affect (which almost melts on the album's title track).

Shangri-La has a lot to recommend it, including irrepressible melodies and a sunny surface overlaying a dark dystopian shimmer. My advice to Evans and co-conspirator (and original YACHT mastermind) Jona Bechtolt: Take off your fucking sunglasses when you party.

More by Sean Bottai

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