The key to success, apparently, is to name your band after a foreign politician.
Ok, maybe that isn’t the best idea. I can’t see “The Ho Chi Minhs” getting a rousing reception or the “Have A Pint With Us Stephen Harpers” headlining too many festivals, but for the worldly Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, it is working well. So well in fact, they recently played Old Nu Rock on invitation from the Boris Yeltsin Foundation.
Great Greg, but what are you getting at?
Well, SSLYBY co-founder Phil Dickey said “I used to joke that we would break up if Boris Yeltsin ever found out about our band. So I figured this was either the death or rebirth of the band.”
And rebirth was the choice. And that comes in the form of Fly By Wire – which is recorded in co-founder Will Knauer’s parent’s attic.
The direction and sound achieved in Fly By Wire had me hooked from the moment they said “Harrison Ford.” So what if they sound like the offspring of The Traveling Wilburys or if there is a disturbing similarity to “Unearth” and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender?” The album works well.
A few years ago, SSLYBY released Let It Sway and it took no time at all for me to gravitate to “Critical Drain” – which is still one of my favorite songs in the last few years. With Fly By Wire I dove in to find that one song that I was hoping to find and to my amazement, that one song was not there; there are ten of them.
Recording the album in the open comfort of familiarity played very well to this record. It took Dickey, Knauer and Jonathan James back to their roots, but allowed them to grow in a fantastic way. They’re airy and packed with melodies. They’re handing out more hooks than the Pro Bass Fishing Tournament and most of all, they’re in a class all their own. Their approach is undeniably vintage but equally refreshing. For this particular SSLYBY fan I would have cringed at the thought of them “rediscovering themselves,” there was nothing wrong with them; but admittedly, a “rebirth” has done them justice.
Who knows, maybe we’ll see them on the road with “Michelle Bachman’s Mullet” or “Don’t Impeach Jed Bartlet.” Until then, Fly By Wire.