I get with “Yellow for Brown” the same enjoyment through anxiety that I get from Matthew Friedberger’s Winter Women from earlier this year—a pretty, yet twisted pop melody sprayed with all sorts of seemingly random slashes and flashes and whirlies and poots and stuff. With both, the technique seems to
be an active attempt to subvert the role of the listner—disallowing any sort of passive reception and drawing attention to the surface at the same time as the main attraction, or the aural equivalent of writing with colored markers on film and projecting it. There’s a dissonance there, a purposeful one, but it can often be a really attractive one. Poland takes a vocal backseat to the seeming cacophony around her, which starts off sounding like an early Ladytron track—severe, nearly industrial percussion effects and buzzing synths, with a cool, detached female vocal saying shit like “I am a tiger”—before allowing what sounds like a Sgt. Pepper calliope thing twist its way into the frame, leading to a simple, bouncing eight-note keyboard pattern creeping in behind it. That leads to the coolest moment in this song—as all of this clatter is banging up a storm around it like a 1940’s auto factory or something, this little innocuous beep-boop, right at the 1:00 mark, brings everything into line and gives the song a bit of clarity and structure, before giving way once again to the dissonance.
» READ MORE