No But Yeah is the moniker for Ben Watts (who happened to be a professional snowboarder). He just released his full-length album Of A Flower Past Its Prime. He is still in college, records all his own material and wears his influences on his sleeve. After listening to the album you can pinpoint specific artists who most likely influenced that song. While Watts still has some searching to do to find his own style there are some quality songs here that display his talent.
“Of A Flower Past Its Prime” is the first song and could be a Sufjan Stevens B-side if you didn't know any better. The guitar is lightly picked along with the sparse piano melody. Watts sings barely above a whisper and mimics the way that Stevens sounded on “John Wayne Gacy Jr.” He even breaks out the horns, which sounded similar to ones that Stevens used on albums like Michigan and Illinois.
“From The Daily Accounts of the Devoted Cynic” doesn't sound as directly influenced by any particular artist. Watts manipulates his voice with modulation while a slow but steady drumbeat creates the foundation. The bass line impressed me on this one. “Sociopath” is a song and style that comes out of nowhere. It’s a three power-chord punk style song that couldn't be much farther away than the first two songs. “Pins And Pine Needles” is another song with overt influences. Watts sounds like Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse and even covers his vocals with a similar type of distortion we came to know on albums like It's A Wonderful Life. The song has a similar humorless melancholy that can be beautiful when looked at through the right lens.
“Not Clinically Dead... (Pt. 1)” is a creepy piece of music that you could imagine being used in your latest horror flick. A distant piano plays as different recordings of voices create an ominous concoction. Yet two songs later he reverts to his three power-chord punk in “I Was Planning On Naming This Number, But After Much Consideration And Hours Of Sleeplessness, I Have Decided Otherwise.”
A number of the songs on this album are enjoyable on their own merit but as a cohesive album it doesn't work. It’s obvious that after listening to this album Watts is still figuring out who he is as an artist. Luckily. He is only 20-years-old and has time on his side.
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