Album: Yes Yes Yes
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Based on Yes Yes Yes’ album art, you’d think Elsinore’s latest release captures love’s adorable side. Or, at least, that it covers the good. The positives.
I mean look at the thing. You’ve got a man and a woman, perhaps in love, expressing their feelings for each other with a kiss. The woman — euphoric — cries tears of joy.
Better still, it’s called Yes Yes Yes! Which, by the way, is written rather largely on the bottom end of the window. Can’t be much more affirmative than that.
Listen to Yes Yes Yes in its entirety, though, and you may have a second opinion about that cover art.
I no longer see the pair of heads as impassioned lovers, but two people who don’t know what the other wants. Or, at least one of them doesn’t. And the tears? Well. Maybe the female, in that moment — in the time she’s locking lips — realizes her relationship with the man isn’t as healthy as she imagined it to be.
Cue the waterworks, woman.
Perhaps my favorite track on the album illustrates what I’m getting at here. Called “Lines,” the song is one of the most honest ballads about love I’ve heard in quite awhile. It isn’t about simply communicating, but communicating in a true way. Forget phone calls. Definitely forget Facebook. We’re talking face-to-face time.
And even then, forget the talk. Forget the arguments and the nothing fights and just freakin’ love each other! Life’s too short to play games or say one thing and mean another. So, just love. In the immortal words of John Lennon, love is all you need.
Says songwriter-lead vocalist Ryan Groff:
No, and I don’t want to fight or argue anymore
I want to be loved
No, and I don’t want to talk about it anymore
I want to be loved
Yes Yes Yes is filled with like messages. In “Landlocked,” Groff sings, “If happiness is what you want, you have to be direct and blunt.” In “Yes Yes Yes,” he says, “I’m lookin’ through you, I’m lookin’ through. Oh, oh…I’m lookin’ through. You better be sure your words are comin’ out right.” The same goes for “Breathing Light.” (“I don’t want to be the one to say that this is it.”)
In every case, the interests of the man and woman — or the woman and man, or the man and man, whatever — aren’t the same.
For me, Yes Yes Yes is an album about unaligned relationships. And how that inconsistency threatens something that could have been good. Even great.
Though not quite as orchestral as Canasta, Elsinore carries a similar sound. But, besides having two fewer members, the Champaign-based band plays darker and with more intensity. Both Elsinore and Canasta are backed by accomplished songwriters; Elsinore just feels edgier.
Tempos and styles vary throughout — and sometimes within the song itself. “The General” provides a good example of this. It begins quickly, magically slows down about a minute in, then picks up again for the remainder of the song. Yes Yes Yes’ arrangements are pretty fantastic actually.
Frankly, I dug this album a lot. It’s catchy when it wants to be (the guitar riffs and backup vocals in “Yes Yes Yes”) or more slow and sentimental (“Body of Water”). Yet it’s unified under a common theme of love.
- Elsinore, based in Champaign, is comprised of Ryan Groff (songwriter/guitar/lead vocals), Dave Pride (drums/vocals), Mark Woolwine (keys/vocals) and Chris Eitel (bass/vocals)
- Yes Yes Yes is available in its entirety on Elsinore’s Bandcamp page. You can stream it for free or buy it for $8. (Or, on Parasol.com, you can order a vinyl LP for $10).
- Elsinore will play a record release show at Lincoln Hall on Friday with guests Canasta and The Bears of Blue River. Tickets are $10.