"Slow dancing toward this moment."
You Say Party (formerly You Say Party! We Say Die!) has risen again with more than a few (ch-ch-ch-)changes. That is to say, the former Abbotsford dance punk rockers have reassembled long enough to release a brand new, self-titled album full of welcomed new material released on Paper Bag Records.
The sprawling eight-track album, their first full-length release in over half a decade, is quite good while being a much more somber evolution of the band's original sound. YSP's moody, dreamlike quality remains with a more restrained rock aesthetic featuring a drum machine replacing any live percussion.
The elephant in the room is, of course, the sudden death of drummer Devon Clifford in 2010 after collapsing on stage—witnessed live and first reported by me some six years ago—and later dying of a brain hemorrhage. It's obviously something that has stayed with the band members during the long road since his tragic death.
Their music remains an important bond tying the bandmates together with keyboardist Krista Loewen returning to the fold (before readying for medical school) after originally leaving the band in the wake of Clifford's passing. Lead singer Becky Ninkovic and bassist Stephen O’Shea welcomed a child together in the mean time. Everyone has moved on to other ventures and opportunities including guitarist Derek Adam continuing his music with local punk band Needs.
You Say Party (the album) has an undeniable new sound with an obvious sadness and strong experimental streak full of atmospheric sorrow not present before. It's a natural evolution of You Say Party, who don't revisit their past musically stylings explicitly but acknowledge its influence.
Gone is the unmistakable energy that made their music so danceable hitting its peak with their third critically acclaimed album XXXX. It's replaced with reflective undertones referencing everything they've gone through in the intervening years between sporadic tribute performances and a rare reunion after their indefinite hiatus in 2011.
It's nice to hear the band is somewhat back together, but sadly, the now quartet currently has no plans to perform live now or possibly ever. This album is a thankful happenstance, a result of gathering enough material from their collaborative jam sessions over the years.
You Say Party has returned to the prom after many dark days and you can hear them embrace that sadness. The band's self-titled fourth album is out now and their release party is this Saturday at the Lido.
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