More Truth In Fiction by Yony
LA-based Yony has slowly been making a name for themselves on the local indie scene, and their latest full length album More Truth In Fiction might be the thing to really grow their audience. If you’re tired of how samey other indie groups sound, give Yony a listen – there’s nothing else quite like them.
No other word sums up Yony’s sound like “eclectic.” Imagine if a band grew up listening to pop music from the 1950s to today, but with absolutely no knowledge of the years or genre boundaries. Listening to More Truth In Fiction is a wild ride, an album that gleefully hops across decades in a single phrase, absolutely refusing to settle into a single style for very long.
What’s more impressive is that Yony aren’t mixing-and-matching styles seamlessly just to show off. The album is surprisingly coherent, a moody reflection on isolation in the digital age. Granted, this isn’t a particularly innovative take – but it’s hardly a surprise that we’re seeing a lot of albums riffing on these ideas in the wake of two years of quarantines and social distancing.
The opening track, “Leave Our Head Behind” serves as a great encapsulation of their strengths. It opens with a retro New Wave synth arpeggio, followed up with strong 80s guitars, and then vocals from the 00s indie scene. We also see how playful their lyrics can be here. The very first line is: Come into my room in the middle of the night, lay down beside me and squeeze me! Refusing to go for the easy rhyme (‘tight’) for effect shows a level of self-awareness many similar bands lack.
Then suddenly the production goes huge with a synthesizer wall-of-sound and guitar-distorted vocals straight out of the 70s, with a dash of Beatles thrown in.
And that’s just the first track.
The next, “Waves of Exhaustion” has strong Harvey Danger energy with a somewhat (deliberately) nasal lead vocal and wild piano runs emphasizing the chaos of the modern world. This is punctuated with fun spoken exclamations, adding to the energy. The album, as a whole, likes to set depressive or defeatist lyrics and concepts against big-production music, milking the dichotomy.
The title track “More Truth In Fiction” is a somewhat more straightforward indie rocker, pointing fingers at the omnipresent propaganda in the modern world. The opening lyric saying he “doesn’t want to be some punk getting high on history” is a particularly clever twist, even if some of the attacks on social media feel a bit trite at this point.
The album proceeds in this vein for awhile. “Know Me Both” sounds like a demented early-60s novelty tune, before launching into a keyboard solo straight out of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. One could almost accuse them of being prog, except for the short songs and accessible lyrics. “Morning Light” sounds like a depressing spin on Motown. “If It Happened 2 U,” the first single, juxtaposes dark slice-of-life stories of tragedies against quirky Oingo Boingo production.
Then, for three songs, it slows down – possibly too much. “Only Naked Guy At The Party,” “Be My Cocoon” and “Brianne” all strip back the production and wild musical references – possibly to demonstrate they can actually stick to a single style for more than a minute at a time. Unfortunately, these songs also come off like they’re wallowing in the darkness, and border on “doomer” territory.
Fortunately, it turns things around for its final pair, starting off “1995” with a deadpan spoken-word tribute to Cake, of all things. Because why not? Cool crunchy synths bring back the energy, along with a melodic chorus that’s pure Bowie as they reflect on how much simpler things were in 1995.
Finally, “Drift Away” sends the album out on a high note, with a dream pop vibe that builds to the point it reminds of The Polyphonic Spree. A depressed Polyphonic Spree.
In short, More Truth In Fiction is a virtuoso work. It’s not for everyone, but music geeks frustrated at the world will love it.