At least on paper, having members whose other projects land in the neighborhoods of psych, rock, jazz, and experimental R&B doesn’t make Milwaukee outfit YLLA (pronounced “E-Luh”) an easy band to pigeonhole. The trio—which features former or current members of Calliope, Temple, Loup, and Birong—has been largely dormant since issuing three short-form releases back in 2013 (Backseas paramount among them) that formally introduced YLLA’s incomparable sound. With two quiet years beneath its collective belt, the band is back and even better than before with its eight-song self-titled album.
Like prior output, YLLA is a commingling of styles, complete with the undeniable math rock elements of rote repetition and zigzag time signatures, shoegazing distortion-drenched vocals, and slanted and complex guitar work throughout. “Silver Armor” ranges from near chaos, as a drum roll and ambient guitar are overtaken with John Larkin’s harsh atonal moans, which are then punctuated with angular instrumentation. “Stuck Between Breaths” finds a wall of sound—elaborate riffs co-existing with a no nonsense rhythm section—being dismantled brick by brick, only to be rebuilt in an even more crude-yet-beautiful fashion as a crescendo of cymbals, horns, and a jagged melody take the album standout home. YLLA is an eight-song display of an under-sung act at its finest. Before it’s officially unveiled in full, you can stream two tracks from YLLA’s self-titled album, only at Milwaukee Record.
YLLA will headline its album release and tour kickoff show at Cocoon Room Thursday, March 26 as part of an all-ages show that also features Jeremy Waun, Tyler Bowen, and Migo.