I'm not sure if I've just been watching too much History Channel, but I'm starting to think that Mike Ersing might be in contact with extraterrestrials. As the leader of Yes Yes, he sings songs about ascension and the stars all-too convincingly, with all too much compelling purpose, and it's hard to not feel entranced when listening.
Yes Yes' latest offering, Dogstar! Heal Your Weighlessness!, is some of the artist's most transcendental, and downright enjoyable, music yet. And to capture it, Ersing traveled from his home in Buffalo to Savannah, Georgia and crammed 20 or so backup vocalists into a tiny bedroom studio for two months. The result is a cross between baroque pop, gospel, and folk, with a genuine, collective feel. You can hear the group joking around and hollering affirmations to each other during songs, and at the center, Ersing is strumming like mad, whistling, and belting out soulful glissandos and vibratos. It's like Comus being fronted by Andrew Bird or folk-era Marc Bolan.
Dogstar! (which is available on iTunes) jumps freely between styles without any disruption of it's coherency, from the tambourine chant “Shaking Wind,” sung as a round by mostly female vocalists, to the mad beat poetry frenzy of “Moksha” - an homage to Dylan's “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie,” with a machine-gun delivery that would make Busta Rhymes' head explode. Even on “A Poem, by Sean Cabral,” which is reminiscent of John Peel's reading at the end of “Frowning Atahuallpa,” there is a sense of celestial uniformity to the record.
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