Abstract, yet relatable
Seven songs, with a one-hour and 15-minute runtime. From the outside looking in, it would seem daunting to finish YOB’s latest release Our Raw Heart in one sitting. Though it is a lofty goal to put out an album with an average length of 10.7 minutes per song as well, the abstract nature of their compositions almost have to be laid out like this to work. Once the album starts, the experimental and artistic approaches both become incredibly apparent. This is not a traditional rock album, it’s an attempt at cutting new ground.
The music is ever-shifting. Many tracks almost seem like three, four or even five different songs that share a theme wrapped into one. What the band does a good job of is the fact that even though the recording quality and sound engineering are incredibly refined, the composition has a raw and straight from the heart feel throughout. The third track on the release, “In Reverie,” is an excellent example of this sentiment. The vocals wail as though in actual pain, the rhythm section shifts to advance and retract the sense of emotion that the music emits as if the track itself were living in a sense that is abstract, yet relatable.
The surrealist nature of the music adds much more of a dramatic edge compared to more conventional releases as well. For example, on the shortest track of the album “Lungs Reach,” within a five minute and 44-second runtime, the first three minutes are simply ambient sound followed by guitars and growling vocals perforating the serene atmosphere that had been built up until that point. The song is conflicted, much like the lives of the people listening.
The entire album is a refreshing listen. It is an intriguing and new take on a genre that has become very much a cut and paste formula when it comes to composing. Like a Jackson Pollack painting, Our Raw Heart challenges the rules and allows much room for interpretation at the individual level.