In September of 2012, Caitin Behle of Each Note Secure called The Yugos “one of the most fun bands in Cincinnati.” Now, just over a year later, that title appears to still be securely in their hands.
The Yugos’ second album, Life is Awesome and Then You Live Forever from Best Friend Records, is a bouncy, rollicking bombastic and rhythmic party full of good times, positive energy and great music.
The Yugos hail from Covington, KY and are the brainchild of brothers Christian and Jordan Gough who play guitar and drums, respectively. They are joined by Jackson Deal on guitar and Jeremy Graham on bass.
In listening to Life is Awesome and Then You Live Forever, I heard very strong similarities in tone and composition to bands like The Cure or New Order. However, with the overall quirky, upbeat energy of the album, perhaps it might be more accurate to compare it to these bands, under the condition that they had better access to Zoloft and Celexa.
The album as recorded by Chad Wahlbrink, who has also worked with bands like Pomegranates, Sacred Spirits , the Soil & the Sun, Antrim Dells, Samuel Lockridge, Future Trends, Fidel Catastrophe and All the Day Holiday. Wahlbrink manages to capture the energy and drive of the band and give the album a very “live” sound, particularly on Jordan Gough’s drums.
The bass playing of Jeremy Graham is absolutely fantastic and is the driving force of this album. His presence in the recording is up-front and reminds me of Simon Gallup [The Cure].
Jordan Gough’s vocals range in sound and attitude from an early, more abstract and experimental David Byrne [Talking Heads] to a late 1980’s Surfer Rosa era Frank Black [Pixies]. His ability to go from soft singing to guttural screaming in an instant is unsettling and at the same time compelling.
Jackson Deal’s guitar is practically dripping in reverb and his open-chord playing lends a surf-influenced new-wave aspect to the album that fills out the sound very nicely.
As playful as the music come across, the lyrics are deceptively introspective and personal. I keep getting drawn in by “So Long” which opens with a gritty rockabilly-surf guitar sound and then completely combusts into a kind of begging, pleading love song.
Life is Awesome and Then You Live Forever is the kind of album you'll find yourself sharing with friends, saying "You have GOT to hear this!" And, hopefully, you'll also find yourself seeking out their live shows again and again.