Twenty First Century Fox
Yr Welcome
Gubbey Records

Pet Rounds, the last record from Twenty First Century Fox mostly exhibited songs that maintained a straightforward approach to poppy, yet heavy-ish beach rock. I was initially drawn to the band’s fun-loving attitude and infectious energy, not to mention the soaring vocals from Miranda Cason and Laura J. Quimby. A little over a year later, the band has returned with Yr Welcome, a highly anticipated release that features eight brand new songs.

After pressing play, I was immediately made aware of two things: First, this record sounds great, and in my opinion is a big step up in production from their last offering.  The second deviation I felt was that these folks were on to something much darker and interesting. Yr Welcome opens up with “Sgt. Pepper”, an avant garde juxtaposition of otherworldly, hard hitting instrumentation and (what sounds like) improvised vocals. The track eventually evolves into an abstract surf rock ditty with a retro sci-fi vibe attached to it. I’m not entirely sure what I thought this album would sound like, but it certainly wasn’t this. Needless to say, the opener’s unpredictability threw me off a bit on my first listen, blissfully taking me out of my comfort zone.

That feeling is somewhat maintained on the next two songs “Certainly The River Is Aware” and “Skippy”, but it’s easy to say that these tracks follow a much more conventional structure allowing the vocals to take center stage. The delightful weirdness is still here, but if you listen hard enough you can easily hear a much more accessible collection of noise.

“Shark Week” opens up with a clever Jaws intro that leads into a dance-tastic surf rock number that rocks my motherfuckin’ world. This is more of what I was expecting with Yr Welcome: A clever take on contemporary beach rock that makes me want to shake my ass. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed that more abstract approach that TFCF has taken thus far, because I most certainly have. I’m only saying that with “Shark Week” I’m in what feels like familiar territory.

“The Fantastic Sorcerer of Zo” is an addictive vocally driven song with thematic synthesizers that back the melody. “Q.U.I.M.B.Y.” (Queers Unite In My Back Yard) opens up as a moody, slow building instrumental that eventually morphs into a badass groove reminding me of something that Steady Diet of Nothing-era Fugazi might do.

The closing track “Nothin’ But Net” comes completely out of left field. Instrumentally, it’s a gritty take on 90’s indie rock, but vocally, Cason and Quimby literally each rap a verse. Yes, you read that right. While this might sound like a horrible idea on paper, this actually works for me as a fun-as-fuck party tune. Howell Dawdy makes an appearance here fitting in nicely with a verse of his own.  I was initially so taken by surprise by this song that I almost missed the references to Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Fischer.

As a whole, Yr Welcome is an unpredictable voyage of triumphant weirdness that never quite lets you settle in to any particular groove. Just when you think you’ve got TFCF figured out, they pull the rug out from under you with a toe-tapping eccentric riff or a bold vocal melody that seemingly comes off the beaten track. As I mentioned before, this album does take me out of my comfort zone, but in the best of ways. This troupe is really on to something fresh and exciting here, a new noise that I’m really excited about.

Listen to Yr Welcome in its entirety below via Spotify:

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