YOO DOO RIGHT- ‘A Murmur, Boundless to the East’
Look, it’s a silly band name. I know it’s also the name of a Can song, a celebrated, epic jam track, and that kind of makes sense when you get to hearing Yoo Doo Right. But it’s still a silly band name. It is, however, just about the only thing this Canadian trio have ever got wrong.
Guitarist and vocalist Justin Cober, bassist Charles Masson, and drummer John Talbot joined forces in Montreal in 2016, and are one of those outfits that seem to have arrived fully formed- armed with a swirling but propulsive psychedelic post-rock sound that, improved production aside, pretty much remains the same today. Their debut full-length was an excellent exercise in wall-of-noise construction via krautrock rhythms, shoegazing riffs and vivid experimentation, but this, their second record, the fantastically-titled ‘A Murmur, Boundless To The East’, is even better.
Opener ‘Say Less, Do More’ is made of familiar post-rock ingredients but consistently presents them in surprising ways. Rather than any slow burn, it amiably wanders into being on the back of immediate drums and prominent bass. Instead of a swell of guitars, there’s a sunrise of synths. Where there could be doom or gloom, there’s a vaguely spaghetti western feel. And then there are vocals. The record is mostly instrumental but every so often Cober seems compelled to spit something out, not to coo or whisper but to speak-sing some urgent call to arms. You have not heard this song before.
Even when the band do hue closer to the archetype, they do it in arresting ways. There is a moment about five minutes in to ‘Say Less…’ where everything, all the noise, drops away and a shimmering riff remains before being joined by, I think, a violin. And it is much closer to typical post-rock. It is very reminiscent of fellow Canadians, Godspeed! You Black Emperor at least. But it is also bloody brilliant. And it’s beautiful. And even as the song full blooms again and barrels forwards, it’s a moment that’s hard to forget. And there are just so many memorable, powerful moments throughout the album.
The second track, a persistent, hypnotic, supernatural thing named ‘SMB’, might be my favourite song of the year so far. And if the dreamy ‘The Failure of Stiff, Tired Friends’ is this band at their most accessible, then the 16-minute final track is, well… it’s the opposite. It’s a journey through distorted punk rock grooves, groaning drone, heart-breaking, sky-scraping noise, and Cober imploring you to “Tango!” By the end you can taste the sweat in the air. You can feel the heat from the band’s aching amps. Oh man, I bet they’re brilliant live.
‘A Murmur…’ is something else then. It takes a sound that Yoo Doo Right developed early on and makes it feel like it could last forever. It gives it weight and significance and, I want to say, permanence. This album is going to be dug out of the earth in a million years time and worshipped. Really powerful stuff. But it’s still a silly band name.