Happy doesn’t quite do justice to the feeling that Yoo Doo Right has unequivocally and thoroughly rocked your world with A Murmur, Boundless to the East.
Is it possible for an album to lull me into a mystical dreamscape of aural delights while simultaneously awakening all my senses and rousing me to sit up and take notice of its expansive splendour? If you’re Montreal’s experimental-post-rock trio Yoo Doo Right and the album in question is their sophomore release, A Murmur, Boundless to the East, then it’s just a given that the answer is yes. This delicate balancing act is all over the five-song, forty-five-minute-long opus. Like a troop of highly trained trapeze artists, Yoo Doo Right make their live-off-the-floor musical tightrope acrobatics seem effortless. The truth is that it’s anything but as easy as they make it seem.
Yoo Doo Right isn’t the first band to ever record an album live off the floor in the studio. Still, the combination of the band’s thundering dynamics, the keen ear of producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (of Jerusalem In My Heart), and the air of mystique at legendary Montreal studio Hotel2Tango bring A Murmur, Boundless to the East as close to prog-rock perfection as you can get. It’s a mostly instrumental album that gives the band plenty of time to let their lush, guitar-loaded atmospherics ebb and flow on layers of post-rock synths and thundering percussion. But you could easily make the case that it’s a music-and-vocals record, even though vocalist/guitarist/synth player Justin Cober drops his booming tenor into opener “Say Less, Do More” and then doesn’t make a return appearance until part-way through epic closer “Feet Together, Face Up, on the Front Lawn.”
“All this noise makes us golden,” Cober intones on “Say Less, Do More,” foreshadowing the blissful drones and hallucinatory revelry of “SMB,” “Dérive,” and the excellently titled “The Failure of Stiff, Tired Friends.” Alternating between building tension and giving in to slow, steady, and seductive release, Cober, bassist Charles Masson, and drummer John Talbot play as if they’re locked into each other’s frequencies. Rhythms race, guitars and synths crescendo, and just when it all feels like the band is about to collapse into a heaving heap of heat and steam and melted gear, they pick up a new thread and glide away on a fresh melodic wave. It’s an understatement when Cober’s vocals return, doing his best Mark E. Smith while barking “Tango / At least I could make you happy” on “Feet Together, Face Up, on the Front Lawn.” Happy doesn’t quite do justice to the feeling that Yoo Doo Right has unequivocally and thoroughly rocked your world with A Murmur, Boundless to the East.