Danton Eeprom: Yes Is More
Pop music lives or dies by the strength of its hooks—ask anyone who's had “Single Ladies” or “Umbrella” permanently lodged in his/her head to attest otherwise. All of which is a roundabout way of explaining why Danton Eeprom's Yes is More—as polished an electro-pop production as it is—proves unsatisfying in the long run. In short, it lacks melodies that dig their way into your brain and stay there for days, even if annoyingly so.
The problem is apparent from the start, when, “Thanks For Nothing,” despite a tasty electro-funk groove, repeats its main melody ad nauseum (Eeprom must have been listening to “Fashion” the night before composing the song, so strongly do echoes of Bowie's tune resonate within it). The vocal presence of Chloe is wasted on the mood-piece “The Feminine Man,” and, while a nice Audion-styled rhythm pulses through “Unmistakably You,” a memorable dimension is absent in the vocal melody. Better by comparison are “Give Me Pain,” which opens promisingly with a French cafe accordion riff before settling into a Prince-styled tribal-electro-funk workout that would benefit from a falsetto vocal treatment in the Purple One's mold, and “Vivid Love,” a stately electro-ballad of gothic character boosted by elegant synth work.
The album includes a few instrumentals that are little better than listless mood pieces. “Tight,” for example, not only lacks anything melodically memorable—the late-inning synth siren is hardly enough to distinguish it—but also drags on too long: at three minutes, it would be tolerable but letting it take up nine minutes of an album (that's likewise overlong at sixty-six minutes) is misguided. Though it too is overlong, “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater” does at least holds one's interest simply because it's a raging, electrified slice of clubby tech-house. Two largely satisfying instrumentals are “Attila,” which sparkles and swings with anthemic purpose for an efficient three minutes, and “What's a Balloon but a Bag of Air,” a pretty and breezy instrumental performed by a largely acoustic ensemble.It's telling that the major exception to the album rule is “Lost In Music” (which also features a strong vocal turn by Au Revoir Simone's Erika Forster)—a delicious cover of a disco classic by Chic's Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards that only makes Eeprom's songwriting appear all the more hooks-deprived.