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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2013 | Polyvinyl Records

Released in 2010, Let It Sway wasn't exactly a hard-rockin' album, and three years later, the matured members of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin turn down their guitar amplifiers to a barely audible sigh and write their arrangements around piano and acoustic guitar. Even breezier than on prior outings, Fly by Wire finds the band peppering ten straightforward arrangements with its distinctively cute brand of indie pop pep. Crafted with the ambient swells and airy vocals often heard in chillwave, an emphasis on keyboards and an electro-acoustic Postal Service vibe hint that that this is a product of the recording studio, especially if one were to compare it to the raw Americana-based home-recording style of their early releases. The edges are sanded softly and the buoyant melodies are presented in such a pristine production that Fly by Wire feels light enough to be a record designated for the adult contemporary crowd. While the playful charm of Philip Dickey, Jonathan James, and Will Knauer never quite shines through in the way it did in the past, glossy songs like "Young Presidents" and "Unearth" are simple, sweet, and tuneful enough that they could win Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin some new fans. There may not be anything challenging here, but even though the lyrics are abstract ("Why don't you call the cops/Wild eyes, you don't have to be good") and the song titles can be misleading ("Harrison Ford"), at the core these are just love songs, and sometimes love is best kept uncomplicated. © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released October 24, 2006 | Polyvinyl Records

Perhaps it makes sense that a band like Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin felt the need to give themselves a name as such, because otherwise, if they were called something monosyllabic and with a definite article they would run the risk of becoming lost and obscured in the vast, vast music world. Luckily for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, they have managed to find possibly the most bothersome, yet memorable, name in recent history (other contenders: I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Cute Is What We Aim For, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the latter mainly because of its variable exclamation point placement), which certainly helps in distinguishing them from the other simple, poppy piano-and-guitar-driven ensembles. The band, which actually self-released their debut, Broom, in their hometown of Springfield, MO, in 2005, posted some songs on their website, and soon became critics' darlings (a story that disarmingly resembles that of onetime blogosphere faves Tapes 'n Tapes, who have since fallen out of favor), signing to Polyvinyl, who then remastered and re-released the album to the general public. Broom, which was recorded in lead guitarist Will Knauer's home, unsurprisingly sounds a lot like something that was recorded in someone's home in that quirky, indie rock way, the occasional background noise, a sloppily played acoustic guitar note, mixed in with their Shins-inspired melodies and Elliott Smith-layered vocals. It ends up being endearing, however, bringing a kind of honesty to their music, something also seen in their straightforward, earnest lyrics. "Pangea, we used to be together/Why'd we have to drift apart?" singer John Robert Cardwell quips in the opener, a Ben Kweller-influenced piece with bright electric guitars and candid statements -- including the occasional non sequitur -- and becoming more serious and introspective in "House Fire" ("We did what we could to save this house from falling/But it burns because it's wood and now you'll never call me darling") while never straying from their inviting choruses and Weezer-like harmonies. Broom is fun and bright but not frivolous, wholly catchy and warm, but it's these same things that also place the band in a group to which timing is everything, and whose popularity is indebted to the ever-mercurial Internet, which can turn on its former beloved without warning. The question is if Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is more than just another trend, if they're lasting enough to survive until another album; they're definitely good, but if they're good enough to actually carry themselves musically instead of relying on Shins comparisons and former Soviet leaders is still uncertain. Let's just hope, for the sake of band names to come if nothing else, that the same fate doesn't befall them as did their eponym, or we could be in a big mess. © Marisa Brown /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released October 17, 2011 | Polyvinyl Records

Limited to 3,000 copies, Tape Club is a compilation of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's B-sides and demos in unreleased versions that range from polished studio recordings of the full band in action to rough solo takes on acoustic guitar. In the Midwestern indie pop group's downtime between 2002 and 2011, the trio (or sometimes quartet) recorded often. In fact, the 26 songs on the compilation were handpicked from over a hundred, hinting that they must have been of high caliber to have been considered. They are. Fans of the simple and true will appreciate “Spinning Sea” and “Let’s Get Tired” from the early years, or the warm Shins and Deerhunter qualities of the “Phantomwise” and “Back in the Saddle” demos, which would later make it onto Let It Sway. Imperfections and all, the small basement or bedroom environments and accompanying tape hiss feel better suited to the band than the flashy sheen of its full-lengths. A chronological ordering gives a sense to the band’s progress, a definite perk, but the big payoff with Tape Club is that it offers a chance to see through to the heart of SSLYBY's songs and realize how charming they can be without the big-league production. © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released May 29, 2015 | Polyvinyl Records

Unlike the easygoing, home-recorded Fly by Wire from two years prior, The High Country was recorded by engineer Beau Sorenson (Superchunk, Bob Mould) in Chris Walla's Hall of Justice studio, where Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin turned up the guitars and kicked up the tempos for their lively fifth full-length effort. With band co-founder Tom Hembree back on bass, the band's original lineup of Philip Dickey, Will Knauer, and Hembree made an evidently conscious effort to pick up the energy on their twee-leaning tunes, and it pays off with an album that, with only one of its 11 songs over three minutes long (and just barely), blows by like a frozen custard cone on a hot day. There is just as much emphasis on melody and band-defining sweetness here (as evident on the Partridge Family-reminiscent "Full Possession of All Her Powers" and its chorus of na-na-nas), but a burlier, feedback-peppered attack and busier drums than ever make for a notable development that's more Breeders than Shins this time around ("Trevor Forever," "Song Will," "Total Meltdown"). Even the reverbed ballad "Madeline" begins and ends with an insistent low drum, as if to emphasize the drums' presence. The album opens with driving, fuzzy guitars and feedback on the infectious "Line on You," with singer Dickey's airy and youthful voice still singing mostly about romance ("I got a line on you, my love"). Really catchy guitar hooks mark this song and others, though there are moments of hazy, droning dream pop ("What I Won") and pulsing punkiness ("Trevor Forever") in the mix, too. As a whole, The High Country is satisfying fare that anyone who found SSLYBY's previous works a little too light in texture will certainly want to give a spin. © Marcy Donelson /TiVo

Rock - Released April 8, 2008 | Polyvinyl Records

Now that Boris Yeltsin is dead, does it matter that someone still loves him? The answer, at least if it's dependent on Missouri's Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, is no. While the band pulled off a passable, if fun, debut in 2005/2006 with Broom, the follow-up, Pershing, is a boring, careless record that tries too hard to be witty and hooky, resulting in something that resembles the indie-hipster version of the nameless college-guy jam band. Broom, of course, was not a perfect album, but songs like "Pangea" and "I Am Warm & Powerful" showed off a group with a talent for songs that managed to border between silly and utterly serious and somehow work. Such, unfortunately, is not the case with the follow-up. The lyrics are trite and uninteresting -- "Yeah, you're right but you'll be dead right/Yeah, you look alright, but you're dead, right?" from "Dead Right" is really not as clever as they think it is, nor is rhyming "oceanographer" with "court stenographer," "news photographer," and "map cartographer" ("Oceanographer"), the latter of which actually is rather redundant -- and while the melodies can occasionally be catchy ("Think I Wanna Die," "Glue Girls"), they're hard to remember once the song ends, neither unique nor fun enough to make much of a dent; "You Could Write a Book" even borders on the trenches of yacht rock. It's too bad, because Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin seemed to have the potential to be a fun, smart indie pop band. But if Pershing is showing the way of the future, they can consider themselves even less relevant in the contemporary landscape than their namesake. © Marisa Brown /TiVo

Pop/Rock - Released October 24, 2006 | Polyvinyl Records


Pop/Rock - Released August 16, 2010 | Polyvinyl Records


Pop/Rock - Released September 27, 2010 | Polyvinyl Records


Alternative & Indie - Released July 13, 2009 | Polyvinyl Records


Pop/Rock - Released October 17, 2011 | Polyvinyl Records


Alternative & Indie - Released August 17, 2010 | Polyvinyl Records

After pulling double duty as producers and performers on their first two albums, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin handed the production reins over to Chris Walla, who fills the band’s third record with a mix of quirky, lo-fi gloss and nuanced arrangements. Last we heard from the Missouri natives, they were micromanaging the bejeezus out of Pershing, resulting in a pleasant but slightly belabored album that didn’t quite follow through on the promise of their 2005 debut. Let It Sway is a breezy pop record, though, shot through with jangled bits of folk, rock, and alt-country and devoid of the painstaking approach that made Pershing stumble. Free to focus on the music instead of the production, SSLYBY come up with a sound that recalls early Sloan and Fountains of Wayne records, with slightly sloppy guitar solos and thick, double-tracked vocal harmonies drawing the clearest parallel between SSLYBY and the bands they emulate. Walla honors the band’s lo-fi roots by keeping things analog and D.I.Y.-sounding, occasionally tossing in some studio trickery but always doing so in a tasteful, light-handed way. Sometimes, this careful approach serves as a detriment to the bandmembers, who’d do well to crank up their amplifiers once in a while and see what their pop sensibilities sound like at high volume. On the other hand, Let It Sway is the sound of a band doing what it does best, and it’s nice to hear SSLYBY get their groove back. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo

Pop/Rock - Released May 22, 2007 | Polyvinyl Records


Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2007 | Polyvinyl Records