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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Happiness Can Be Bought

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is a beautiful find, I believe. It's a concrete feeling that will be associated and attached to this moment in time of my life. It's a moving album that is worthy of a purchase. This is not the disappointment that our beloved Pitchfork would lead us to believe. It is, in fact, one of the single most beautifully composed lo-fi albums in a very, very, long time. I love you, Boris Yeltsin.

Well slap me sslyby!

Eight times in a row--that's eight as in one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, EIGHT--times in a row I listened to this album when I first got it. I listened to it until my iPod died in my ears. Some review called Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's "Broom" the new Blue CD (by Weezer), which is saying an awful lot. And saying it right. The boys rock as though nobody's watching, and for anyone who understands: that's the only way to rock. Guitar parts play off each other like two best friends telling you a story, the keyboard chimes in like the quiet guy who makes sure that what he does say is damn important, and the drums don't much reinvent the wheel but keep it rolling smoothly nonetheless. The singers punch out humbly brilliant lyrics (a la "We're just held together/by calendars and sex/the daily paper and/a pack of cigarettes") to refreshing melodies. In a nutshell, this album is devoid of wrong. Replay value: To infinity and beyond (your iPod's battery life).

What pop music is supposed to be.

From the first chord to the last note, Broom rocks you...and softly. Weighing in at just under 30 minutes and 11 songs, the debut album from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin will undoubtedly change your perception on what music is supposed to be. From pop to indie-rock, Broom exemplifies itself as an example of the power of songwriting. Originally self recorded in an attic, it proves that all the equipment and money in the world can't buy talent, and that pure, unadulterated songwriting is the most important asset any band can have. It's slick chords, catchy riffs, and memorable lines remind us of what we listen to music for. Broom doesn't take itself too seriously, it doesn't wallow, and it leaves us smiling. Comparisons are often made to The Shins, Elliot Smith, Pet Sounds, etc...but one thing is for sure: SSLYBY has taken pure pop essence and turned it into pure musical gold.

Biography

Formed: Springfield, MO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The three original members of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin — lead guitarist Will Knauer, drummer Philip Dickey, and bassist Tom Hembree — met in high school in Springfield, Missouri, and soon formed a pop band. It was Dickey who came up with the group's name while shopping with his mother one day in the local mall, and he also wrote most of their early material. Once in college, the trio added singer/guitarist John Robert Cardwell and bassist/recording...
Full Bio
Broom, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
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