Album Review: Yonderboi / ‘Passive Control’ (Yonderland)

Yonderboi Passive Control


He has the name of an alternative superhero; his powers number conducting solidly-built electronica, a folk-cored sensitivity going over trip hop strums, and punk-ish dance with a feel for widescreen dub. Finding the middle of the road most comfortable, even when at its most dynamic, Yonderboi follows his own shadow and is not one to be swinging from skyscrapers.

Though you can only wheel up dub and folk so far until you’ve veered way off course, rustic attempts at integrating dubstep on “Paint Hunting on the Wall” and “Mono de Oro,” laden with old-world acoustics and melodies, show an ear for dance that’s expansive yet somehow still tentative. Attempting this crossover/synergy isn’t hyperextending to make opposites attract, but counterparts get jammed together without really getting to know one another. Electro-breaker “Brighter Than Anything” isn’t helped by a vocal from Yonderboi’s internet find Charlotte Brandi that falls into the same trap of the unadventurous.

The album’s high points are the freedom-seeking soundtrack quality of “Inexhaustible Well” and the strings of impassioned pop plea “Come On Progeny,” both of which will bring down the burliest warrior. Bookended by monologues that are at odds with one another and the feature presentation they frame, the Hungarian’s problem is all in its title; regardless of ideas of fusion and the obvious studio enhancements at his disposal to lift a folk template, it’s an album that ambles into short-termism before it becomes forgotten.

File under: Bonobo, Rockers Hi-Fi, Gotan Project