Last Saturday night, a pair of ostensible hipsters performing under the name Yip Deceiver filled the floor of Goodrich with jubilant dance vibes, courtesy of WCFM. The band and its crowd made up for the concert’s relatively disappointing attendance with their enthusiasm, filling the space with rich and ecstatic sound and movement.
The all-analog Yip Deceiver is the invention of Davey Pierce and Nicolas “Dobby” Dobbratz, both of whom are ex-members of the acclaimed indie rock project Of Montreal. Their songs resist simple categorization, but can most reasonably be labeled as synth-pop. Pierce and Dobbratz draw on a variety of influences spanning times and genres to keep their songs interesting while remaining true to a carefree spirit. Their song “Tops Part II” is reminiscent of 90’s R&B, while “Lover” is very disco and “Double Feature” features Bee Gees-esque background vocals. Some songs have a heavier bass to bounce to while others showcase a lighter sound. “World Class Pleasure” seems to allude to indie rock band Geographer and “Double Feature” and “2nd Son of a 2nd Son” sounds like Passion Pit.
Pierce and Dobbratz certainly dress and act in line with the ever -more-popular indie attitude. Dobbratz donned a dress shirt and pants with suspenders and a pink tie. Pierce dressed down with a simpler purple t-shirt and jeans. Both sported sneakers. Pierce assigned to the crowd the “homework” of buying a record player, and noted that his equipment was old. Pierce manipulated electronic equipment to produce the majority of the band’s sound, and Dobbratz contributed electric guitar, drums, cymbal, and tambourine. “We are totally addicted to analog synths, FM synthesis and MIDI Sequencers,” Davey confesses on the duo’s website, “We program our drum tracks on an MPC (Media Player Classic) and we don’t use soft synths or the like. Everything is hardware. We enjoy the process, the experimentation and the immediacy of the machines we work with. We spend hours finding a sound and as soon as you change anything, it’s gone forever. We love that.” Both artists performed vocals.
Yip Deceiver’s strength definitely lies in its sound and energy, which were sustained throughout the show. The band’s lyrics occasionally feel repetitive in “Get Strict,” and approach cliché in “Lover,” but this is easily forgotten in the joy of Yip Deceiver’s sound. Yip Deceiver put on a great party, not trying to convey some profound message. Pierce and Dobbratz were charming and energetic both during and between songs. Pierce bounced around the stage and Dobbratz’s awkward commentary was endearing. The artists’ passion for their sound was evident and contagious, and students danced with them spontaneously throughout the night.
“Color Me In” stood out as a slower and more ethereal piece, giving listeners a chance to breathe after all the dancing. The song is full of tension, urgency and sincerity, vowing, “I’ll follow you wherever you go.” A rhythm change at the end adds interest and maintains the dreamy tone with a quicker and lighter electronic melody above the heavier and smoother bass that persists from the beginning of the song. The break didn’t last long; the beats of “Go On” and “Double Feature” demanded dancing.
Yip Deceiver drew most of the evening’s songs from its album Medallius, but also played a song no longer available for purchase, as well as “Sadie Hawkins Day,” which does not appear on Medallius. “Sadie Hawkins Day” commands audience members to “dance like you’ve got no soul,” and makes liberal use of punchy “oh’s.” Pierce played with the audience after “Sadie Hawkins,” demonstrating the pre-recorded “oh” from his equipment and challenging the audience to replicate its synthetic sound in a call and response. The crowd enthusiastically failed to imitate the electronic tone.
Yip Deceiver’s audience demanded an encore after the band’s set of just under an hour. During a long wait while their equipment reset (remember, it’s old), Dobbratz entertained the audience by jokingly acknowledging the band’s unfortunate lack of tech assistants. He also playfully explained how an encore usually goes, where the band leaves the stage and comes back: “instead what we’ve got going on is an awkward silent moment while we just stand here.” By this point the duo had fully warmed up to the crowd with their charisma, gracefully embracing their unorthodoxy, asserting, “but awkward is cool.” Finally, the band covered Brenton Wood’s 1968 doo-wop “Give Me Some Kind Of Sign” with their signature electronic twist. Given the long wait, the short song (under three minutes long) was a bit of a disappointment as the sole component of the encore, although it did manage to renew the audience’s energy before they filtered out to enjoy the rest of the night.
Yip Deceiver’s debut album, Medallius, was released in 2013. Based in Athens, Georgia, the band’s upcoming summer tour includes venues in the Midwest, Southwest and California.