Yam Haus Have Hit Their Stride with "Stupid and Famous"
Minnesota’s indie rock trio, Yam Haus, has released their newest project, Stupid and Famous, a seven-song triumph of the band’s newfound sense of self mixed and produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Phoenix, M83).
Stupid and Famous hails to indie rock legends like The Killers, Weezer, and Muse with its vibrant palette of sounds. It’s a matured and organic direction for Yam Haus, honing in on gutsy, guitar-led arrangements and infectious hooks for a sound that feels excitingly authentic.
“So Long” kicks off the album with a burst of wailing guitars and steadfast rock drums. Lead singer, Lars Pruitt, adopts a half-spoken, half-sung vocal style that introduces listeners to this confident sound they’ve settled into. Released alongside Stupid and Famous is the “So Long” music video, visualizing the release of pent-up aspiration, excitement, and pride all coming to fruition through this indie rock anthem. Confetti cannons and slow motion shots declare the celebration, while the intimacy of the empty room emphasizes the pivotal moment we’re witnessing in Yam Haus’ journey with both this song and the album as a whole.
Next, “Sandcastle” sounds as sunny as you’d expect from the title, but packs an introspective punch in the lyrics. It speaks to the trials of being a musician, constantly giving everything you have and it rarely being enough: “the whole world is made of sand / I feel it slipping through my hands / it’s a shame, it’s a hustle / living in a sandcastle…” Yam Haus continues the contemplation with “Little Contradictions”, letting the soul-searching seep into the music this time, forgoing the sunny disguise. They turn to guitar arpeggios, a rich bass sound, and intentional space in the production that allows the weight of the lyrics to fully settle.
Next, “Shaken Yer’ Hips” juxtaposes verses dripping in self-doubt and bitterness with a playful chorus, quite literally balancing out the struggles of a creative career with the desire to just dance a little. Yam Haus reveals the most vulnerability with “Rafters,” sweeping through distorted, minor chords and an emotive halftime drum groove. They pan the instruments drastically across the soundscape, enhancing the cinematic feel. Then, “Can’t See Anything” brings the energy back up with the catchiest cry of a melody. It’s a take on ignorance through a shifting lens, looking at the microscopic interpersonal struggles to discourse on worldview.
Title track, “Stupid and Famous,” might be my favorite off the album. It embodies – instrumentally and lyrically – the two-faced energy of the age of social media we’re living in. The song is riddled with tongue-in-cheek lyrics, poking fun at the superficial hellscape that social media’s become. As someone who lives in LA and often feels like a fly on the wall of Influencer City, I found such a light catharsis in Yam Haus’ boyish banter. Furthering the two-sided sound, the chorus oscillates between a stripped-down, clap-along hook and an alt-rock riff. When the breakdown kicks in, I hear major notes of Weezer in the crooked smile of those anthemic vocals and earworm guitar hooks.
It’s a perfect closing track to this encyclopedia of Yam Haus as they wink at iconic indie rock alumni as references, but freshly introduce their own sound to the scene.