Yr Poetry – ‘No Tribes’ review

A side project from Johnny Foreigner’s Alexei Berrow and Junior Washington, Yr Poetry takes its name from their previous solo outings – Yr Friends and Fridge Poetry – and is, in Lex’s own words the kind of band: ‘designed to be thrown in a car to play all those house shows we’d get invited to if we actually did live in Chicago’. Full of fun and plenty of nods to the duo’s biggest influences, ‘No Tribes’ is the sound of a band you’d expect to hear being played loud through a broken C90 player on late-night drives…

The opening track ‘I caught a fly with chopsticks, once’ not only references anyone who grew up in the 80s’ favourite maintenance man/car wax-obsessed sensei, Mr. Miyagi, but also has elements of Menace Beach in its distorted yet joyous atmospherics. A considered shoegazey opening is blasted to pieces by a burst of traditional JoFo guitar work that then neatly beds the impassioned lyrics: ‘Pretend you never wanted what you get, detag yourself in every shot’. ‘Bae Ruthie’ follows with a more direct Fugazi/‘Captain’-era Idlewild-esque punk sound. Frantic and frenetic, there are plenty of heartfelt yet beautifully simple lyrics that scream out regret: ‘Is that all you’ve got to say to me?’ and a plea of ‘I hope that we’re still friends’ especially longing.

As mentioned earlier, this is an extended EP (or is it a mini album?) that finds Lex and Junior heading back to their roots and embracing some of their biggest influences. The opening of ‘A House in the Hinterlands’ has a touch of Sparklehorse before choral vocals come to the fore, swfitly joined by Kinsella-aping guitars and a drawling stoner vibe that takes in everything from the boardwalk to the seagulls that fly above it. The final song ‘Still Got It’ clocks in at under three minutes and heads from a slightly mathier direction to a brilliantly played finale that talks of how: ‘I survive a pop-punk summer’ before everything wraps up with a magnificent closing line that owes a debt to Rivers Cuomo: ‘As long as I still can write these stupid songs, I guess we’re OK’. If these are the ‘stupid’ songs that Lex and Junior come up with in their spare time, then it bodes well for the next album they make for their day job!

‘No Tribes’ is available via

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