For Jona Bechtolt, genre distinctions are a drag. His third album — the affirmingly titled I Believe in You. Your Magic Is Real. — is an epic for the attention-deficit set, sucking radio-ready hip-hop, glitchy laptop production, ’80s synth pop and grunge into a black hole called Yacht. It’s a fiercely inclusive approach to making music, in which nearly every style charts in Bechtolt’s vision: the sonic equivalent of a shrugging “It’s all good.”
That he embraces disparate genres in one big group hug is telling. Bechtolt feeds listeners’ flagging self-images with generous helpings of pop-psych pep talk. On “The Magic Beat,” a chorus of voices intones, “Do what you love/ love what you do.” In “Your Magic Is Real,” he revels in modest joys, asking, “When was the last time you bought a hotdog?” and “When was the last time you wrote a limerick?” Bechtolt actually reads the liner notes’ thank-yous in “I Believe in You,” like some condensed Oscar acceptance speech. It’s cute and well-paired with such joyous music, but it’s also like gorging yourself on candy. Is packing away so much saccharine fluff really worth the rush?
Sometimes it is. Unlike Bechtolt’s more song-oriented production as one-half of the Blow, Yacht songs lean heavily toward the kind of detailed and scatological construction that makes listening to music on headphones a participatory pastime. “It’s All the Same Price” begins with a new-wave synth bounce and morphs into a blazing dance-floor rally, complete with blaring sirens. Staccato acoustic-guitar strums and hand claps conjure flamenco music on “So Post All ‘Em,” while elastic beats crest into polyrhythm. Such studio wizardry is more illusory than substantial, but all the unexpected collisions and detours in Bechtolt’s meticulous production makes for a convincing sleight of hand.
“See a Penny (Pick It Up)” MP3