Yacht Rock Revue–what the hell does that even mean? Drawing inspiration from the 2005 series, “Yacht Rock,” the band Yacht Rock Revue describes themselves as, “…the finest tribute to ’70s light rock to ever perform anywhere,” and proclaim that they blur the lines between tribute and original act. There’s never been a more accurate self description ever and they’ve definitely hit the nail on the head with their new self-titled album. So really, what does any of that mean? Yacht Rock Revue definitely has that 70s feel, and if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic for bands like Toto, Steely Dan, or Foreigner, then you’ll be in for a treat. Each song off the album is like stepping into a time machine.
So what is it that makes Yacht Rock Revue such a perfect tribute to the 70s rock scene? With their charismatic and daring personality, the band has just the right thunder to send the listener back in time, and rip them out of their seats. From the musical standpoint, poppy melodies are just what it takes to brighten things up, and set the stage for this party. Each song, the band’s collaborative voices pull it all together. Every member has a specific role; from the obscene variation of instruments to the explosive singing, it all meshes together into the perfect musical blend. Furthermore, the band’s lyrically heavy songs offer up some memorable choruses. Yacht Rock Revue is right, they are the finest tribute to 70s light rock.
But what if you’re not into this 70s light rock, “yacht rock” even? Is this kind of thing even appropriate today? While the band manages to capture and portray a genre perfectly, give life to a seemingly long gone era of music, the naysayers have a point. The album, overall isn’t objectively bad by any means, but let’s be honest: Yacht Rock Revue is taking care of a niche audience, and leaving the rest of us out in the cold. But let’s not get carried away here, the band is just reviving an old genre. They’re a tribute, and they’re making some good music. Until the last track of the album, a cover, of Toto’s famous, “Africa.” Unless a cover does something to add to, or give a new perspective to a song, it’s usually kind of just there. There’s a fine line between a really good cover, and a really bad cover. Guess which side Yacht Rock Revue’s version of “Africa” is on. Maybe if you’re part of the target audience, you’ll find some joy in it, but the rest of us will be left wondering, “Why?” The band has barely touched the original version, and that takes away from the rest of the album. Up until this point you’ve been given a fantastic tribute, and niche or not, everything’s been pretty good. Then, suddenly, dark clouds roll in and you’re left with a carbon copy of a song. Simply and sadly put, Yacht Rock Revue’s rendition of “Africa,” is just really unsatisfying.
For better or worse, Yacht Rock Revue is a window into a time when music was far more colorful. You had musicians working together, playing their instruments and singing with such audacity their fans went wild. For what it’s worth, overall, Yacht Rock Revue’s self-titled album is interesting, fun, and refreshing.
MP3: Yacht Rock Revue “Good Thing”