Album review: Yoo Doo Right – ‘Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose’: fiendishly enthralling and focused

The Breakdown

On their debut album, Yoo Doo Right simultaneously reflect Krautrock gods of yore – through fiendishly enthralling, focused but immediately spontaneous-seeming jams – and also signal towards a similarly kaleidoscopic era of genre-melding, synth-layered experimental music

BEGINNING in 2016, Montréal’s Yoo Doo Right have strewn the experimental music world lavishly with fervent, heavenly jams: heavily akin to their eponymous krautrock forefathers, also stirring in a heady mix of influences and inspirations.

The trio – Justin Cober (guitar, synthesizers, vocals), Charles Masson (bass), and John Talbot (drums, percussion) – made their debut album Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose in 2019, recording between Montréal and Quebec.

YDR, as is eponymously suggested by their name, do indeed run on a Can and krautrock-centred, incendiary fuel – displayed through the drums’ stellar, pounding catapult, as well as the sprawling and enflamed wig-out jams (see 1N914 at the most gloriously jammy fusion). However, as much as they appear as spiritual sons of Schmidt, Liebezeit, Karoli, Czukay and co. – and echo the principles of krautrock itself – there is also a profusely separate impression from the trio.

As much as they echo Can, they also – in a way which somewhat evokes the forward-thinking propulsion of the German innovators – push plentiful other musical strands across their sinewy jams, with the same ease and acuity. Within these is an equal blend of post-rock, Cober’s guitar an abrasive, galvanic shredding beast of an instrument; vastly different to that of Karoli for example, though still brandishing a similar orchestra-like, woozy wave in the ripple of its strokes.

Cueing the album’s first quarter – and acting as a spacious palette cleanser against these surrounding tracks inducing the visceral, headbanging, krautrock-ian assault YDR excel in – “Marche Des Vivants” issues a meditative, serene, synth furore; a wormhole of a piece which fully raptures in it’s exploratory, Harmonia-ish meander.

Yoo Doo Right

These aforementioned Can-ny (the “Halcyon Days” of Tago Mago or, of course, Monster Movie come to mind) stompers balance a clear but precarious trapeze between familiarity and cohesion – mainly remaining the latter territory. Penultimate track “Presto Presto, Bella’s Dream”, for example, constructs a tumultuous, sparring improv into an almost debilitatingly brutal, slowly marching drum surge; where the rapid whirling dervish of “Join, Be Curst” hints at another of the band’s equally enticing improvisational sides (one marvellously portrayed on 2017’s frenetic Speed Guru).

The title track, before the band’s uniquely rampaging instrumentation, also offers diversity in the burgeoning tension poured from the mellifluous, synth-prominent, laconic drum build-up.

Elsewhere, however, moments of similar dynamic fusion mesh into sameness. Nevertheless, the tracks still retain a deep intrigue, begging for impending listens to discover their detail and the joints where each part engages one another – just as krautrock’s greatest hold a similar unique allure.

“1N914” is also steeped in YDR’s singular mystique, displaying a freakish drumming arsenal that flits nimbly between Can and proggy space rock. The track’s guitar also morphs organically while still retaining its breakneck power, going from a droning gale to whipping notes that lash like a krautrock tornado. This is true of spacious jams such as “The Moral Compass Of A Self-Driving Car” and “Join, Be Curst” – both boast incredible mantric vocal incantations and Thee Oh Sees-ish guitar whirlwinds which, alongside the bass thrum and thunderous drums, creates an expansively transcendent aural chamber.

With the Liebezeit-eking drumming blaze and, alternatively, the gritty Sonic Youth-evoking guitar, these tracks perfectly embody YDR’s unparallelled blend of sounds: a post-rock spliced with Can vibrancy. These stretching improvs leap with a sinewy, instinctive but unpredictable quality; “Join, Be Curst”’s elastic guitar strokes evolving fluidly into more measured and pensive passages, and then back again, more impassioned than before.

The development between the opening and closing track – the former a muted, but fittingly hazy, short sweetener of Can descent; the latter a cruising spar of jagged guitars and flourishing, freewheeling, drumming ecstasy which sits between high and low tempo at a stoic, reflective march – while reflecting the vast distance and musical ground covered so masterfully in such a short span, also captures the album’s overall spirit.

On their debut album, Yoo Doo Right simultaneously reflect ounces of krautrock gods of yore – through fiendishly enthralling, focused but immediately spontaneous-seeming jams – and also signal towards a similarly kaleidoscopic era of genre-melding, synth-layered experimental music; this being a forecast of further unfurling evolution from this mercurial group.

Yoo Doo Right’s Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose is out on Mothland Sounds today; listen here, and order the album here.

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