To understand “Two Kings of the Same Kingdom,” the new album by Yip-Yip, it helps to look at flashing colors and images. You can do this first by going to the band’s website, www.yip-yip.com, where you are immediately confronted with a two-frame animation of a man with four arms in a checkered jumpsuit and mask, strapped with white goggles and spasmodically blowing into a saxophone, two hands pressing the valves while the other two pulse to an imaginary beat. Is this the Yip-Yip god? Is this the eponymous double king?
A brief tour of Google Images will reveal that the two members of the musical group called Yip-Yip wear this checkered suit like a second skin — or is it their first skin? In it, the distinction between them evaporates. What could this mean? What are they trying to be? One of their songs is called “Gender Changers.” Another is called “Jazz Rats.” Still another is dubbed “Humanly Wanderers.” Their identity is fluid, impossible to define, perhaps not even human. For this album, they have relinquished their status as independent beings, preferring instead to combine into a multi-armed checkered monster — the radioactive Megazord of digital music-induced nightmares, colored like a Vans slip-on.
At 51.1 Megabytes (that’s a mere 24.1 minutes), there’s not a lot of “Two Kings” to grasp onto. To be sure, this pithiness is one of the great strengths — or great mercies — of the album. The longest track (“Audacity Beach”) is three minutes and twenty-nine seconds long. The average song length comes out to around two minutes’ duration, with the shortest track (“High Heel to Mammal 4”) clocking in at just short of a minute. Why is this? Well, really the album can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Put the whole thing on repeat and you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. Heck, it could last days, even weeks if you let it. And this trait isn’t necessarily bad.
Everything about “Two Kings” evokes perfectly the post-music age in which we live. These days, it’s not really about the melody or the beat or the lyrics or the chords or the hand claps anymore. What the up-to-date noise-connoisseur craves are vaguely pulsating sounds to accompany his or her epileptic seizure, also known as being “high” on “drugs,” also known as dancing.
If you’re having a Yip-Yip party alone in your room, it’s fun to watch the animation on their website (www.yip-yip.com) to get you in the party mood. In many ways, the film serves as an all-purpose music video. All of the Yip-Yip songs have beats, and several are of varying tempos and meters, but for some reason they all synch up perfectly with the flashing Yip-Yip man. He’s magical!
There are some albums that you have to listen to many, many times in order to “get it.” It’s possible that “Two Kings” is one of these. Maybe if you play it backwards, it says something ironic? Who knows. Played forwards, it says very little. I hear a lot of synthesized beats and repeated four-note sequences, with occasional breaks into horror-movie whines, alarm bells, drum rolls, saxophones and bass pads descending into hell. It seems like a catalog of every sound your vintage Casio keyboard can produce, played forever until you die or become hopelessly addicted.
I don’t know. A part of me kind of wants to listen to this album on loop until my brain bleeds out of my nostrils. Do I love it? Maybe. Do I hate it? No, I guess not. Is it worth your ten dollars on iTunes? No, certainly not. But is it good for half a laugh and a kick in the pants? You can bet on it.