Yip-Yip have created a synth-prog concept album about life in today’s underground music scene which is an absolute masterpiece. That’s right, I said MASTERPIECE. Though it’s ordinary album length, the sheer density of song composition gives “Bone Up” the feel of an epic double album, and should probably be thought of as such. Like other such works of singular vision, it can be a bit much to take in upon first exposure, particularly if you have an aversion to robot voice effects, synthesized whip cracks, or saxophone leads. If you’ve ever described some music as having “cheesy synths” and meant it as a negative, this might not be the masterpiece for you.
I don’t know everything about Yip-Yip, but this album seems like a departure for them. Their previous material was equally frantic and energetic, but sounded like an improvised mish-mash of crazed and zany synthesizer sounds. Many of the same sounds are here, but everything on this album is precisely composed and executed. All of the 16 songs are very short, but very dense.
The claim that this is a concept album comes from me, not Yip-Yip, but there’s definitely a theme here, and most of the songs seem to be about the band members’ personal experiences in the scene, and dealing with people as artists and musicians. “Big Dud” is about being invited to join the cool scene and finding it a great waste of time. “When I see, people networking, seems kind of weird.” The song “Copy Cat” hits on that defining characteristic of art-making today: “It’s impossible to be an original, everything that you could do has been done before, so no matter what you do, they will call you a Copy Cat.” And the last one I’ll quote is “Over It” wherein Yip-Yip sings “They’re desperate to be relevant, and they’re wondering where everyone went, now that 15 minutes has become something more like 15 seconds … we’re over it.” I suspect all this resonates within anyone who’s been making music in this decade. I really, really wish this had come with a lyric sheet.
“Bone Up” is another one of those albums that, in a fairer world or another era, would make Yip-Yip – well – much better known at least. But this era is kind to the listeners, because you can stream the whole thing RIGHT HERE, and you can download it at their Bandcamp page for Pay-What-You-Want. (!!) Glowmobile Records also put out a limited number of vinyl, but just confirmed with me that as of right now, they still have copies! Order up!