Yip-Yip - In the Reptile House (Cover Artwork)


In the Reptile House (2006)

Strictly Amateur Films

Some time in the past decade it became permissible for punk kids to ditch the guitars and strap on the key-tars. They sold the drum kit to the local pawnshop and plunked down the cash for drum machines. Throwing all caution and musical finesse to the wind, they proceeded to pound away on the electronic instruments in an attempt to conjure the most atonal calamity possible. The Locust and Atom and His Package were early trailblazers, though we could arguably trace the lineage further back to "new wave" and even further to Kraftwerk.

Yip-Yip are facetious and glib. Thus it's difficult to take their craft seriously, though it is clear they devoted some serious time and effort to their musical product. As dorky and crass as the video game-sounding effects can get, Yip-Yip produce some compelling electronic music.

"Candy Dinner" begins with what sounds exactly like the same digital drums used in a Human League record. From there it goes all goofy electronic. Perhaps the duo on the cover decked out in checkerboard outfits in front of a checkerboard background should offer some insight into the quirkiness inside.

Kids will never stop finding irritating ways to use keyboards and drum machines. Yip-Yip do this with aplomb. Yet they display some keen for crafting tuneful songs when they feel like it. "Slime Shuns Sun Shine" seems to be a kindergarten knock-off of Venetian Snares. It works, especially when it slides into an `80s funk passage.

The other songs follow a similarly minimalist route, while constantly bouncing through sometimes drastically shifting tempos and melodies. "California Fart" goes for the more glitchcore end of the electro-spectrum, while something like "24 Tubes" shimmies with dance-heavy grooves. "High Heel to Mammal lll" is what I would expect from a band that toured with An Albatross: bizarre, somewhat carnival-esque sounds collapsing into what seems to be the hiss of a spaceship dying.