Pain In The Yeahs – Death Of A Rock And Roller

Pain In The Yeahs

The intro to Pain In The Yeahs’ (the artistic vehicle for Virginian James K. Ultra) newest track is really incredible. The electronic bassline is reminiscent of some of the great 1980s pop bands, and the synth distinctly gives me ‘Pet Shop Boys Vibes’ – while the overlay which emerges half-way through it is more reminiscent of the 2000s indie movement, in particular the sound of the Killers.

This roaring backdrop is somewhat juxtaposed to James’ haunting, distorted, slightly distant vocals, which arrive half a minute in. It places you in the centre of a party, although it also feels emotional at the same time. Although this is far from a new soundscape, this is an innovative take on it. One thing which struck me was the sheer quality of the production here – it sounds ready for Absolute Radio – and you can tell just how good he is at what he does. Everything down to the artwork has been designed to trigger sonic experiences – to misquote Brian Eno – and, quite simply, it works.

‘Death Of A Rock And Roller’ is one of the standout releases of 2021, and I hope that it gets the acclaim which it deserves.

Ryan Powell