After releasing three albums of original music, touring worldwide, and making scores of remixes for bands like Stereolab, Ratatat, and Architecture in Helsinki, Jona Bechtolt, the former half of The Blow otherwise known as YACHT, has taken his “life project” to a new level. Last year YACHT (Young Americans Challenging High Technology) reincarnated as a duo, with Bechtolt joined by new full-time member Claire L. Evans â€“ an accomplished science writer, artist, and veteran of the previously-underground LA noise scene.
After they recorded a tongue-in-cheek “love letter” to LCD Soundsystemâ€™s James Murphy in the form of the track â€œ Summer Song,â€ Murphy signed the pair to DFA Records.
The music, lyrics, visual and conceptual themes of See Mystery Lights were born in an ad-hoc studio in a casita in Marfa, Texas. A baffling paranormal phenomenon in the Far West Texas desert, the “mystery lights” for which the album is named are nocturnal orbs of elusive light that randomly appear along the Texas horizon. Using this anomaly as a starting point, YACHT crafted an album that is both mysterious and immediately satisfying.
â€œRing The Bellâ€ opens the album with a shamanistic groove anchored by a shaker and a rolling, one-note guitar line, steadily building as Bechtolt and Evans chant one of the albumâ€™s many Delphic mantras: â€œWill we go to heaven or will we go to hell? Itâ€™s my understanding that neither are real.â€ The stuttering high-hats of â€œIâ€™m In Love With A Ripperâ€ make for a weird, yet inescapably potent club anthem, while the subversive â€œDonâ€™t Fight The Darknessâ€ will either shed some light onto the mystical themes of the album or cast them further into shadow.
See Mystery Lights is idiosyncratic and heavily layered, exploring themes from the existential, to the spiritual, to the hedonistic, all through the distorting lens of pop.
The true beauty, however, is that one can choose to dive down YACHT’s rabbit hole and search for answers — or just as easily ignore their cryptic motifs and enjoy See Mystery Lights for the adventurous and innovative avant-pop album that it is.