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Yo Soybean brings youthful angst to traditional folk sounds on its new self-released Manifest Blasphemy. Lyrically centered, the songs highlight front man Nick Mallis’ talent for wordplay and, in the process, place Yo Soybean along a trajectory anchored by Dylan and Oberst. The primarily acoustic music, resembling an indie-tinged version of newgrass, provides a backdrop to Mallis’ thoughts and dynamically accents his pleads.
Incorporating less traditional sounds for folk music, Yo Soybean utilizes djembe and slide banjo while Mallis spills his ideas concerning the fickleness of twenty-something year old existence on the up tempo lead single “Anticipation.” “Neon Cowboy” juxtaposes images of rustic individualism with fleeting attempts to conceal one’s identity, and Mallis morphs Milton’s epic poem into a modern tale of Planet Earth, liquor, and big screen televisions on “Paradise Found.”
Manifest Blasphemy captures a glimpse of an individual questioning his purpose in life or, perhaps more accurately, the purpose of life. Using simpler acoustic sounds as his vehicle, Mallis delivers heavy, thought provoking propositions to his listeners. These propositions sometimes greatly contrast in weight with the light-hearted musical accompaniment, so much so that Yo Soybean gives its listeners the choice to either face the harsh realities of life or escape to a bubbly, surface existence. While some might disagree with this seeming lack of cohesion, the fact that Yo Soybean allows its listeners to choose their fate is perhaps Manifest Blasphemy’s greatest statement. (Self-released)