Philip Dickey, multi-instrumentalist and founder of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, says he doesn’t mind when people ask him about the quirky moniker, really. “I totally expect and welcome the question,” he says. “The only thing I don’t like is people questioning it and some saying they hate it. I’m like, ‘Are they right? Yeah, it does kinda suck.’ But, no, I’m proud of it.” (For the record, Dickey says it was something that crept in his mind while strolling through the mall.)
The band’s irresistible, giddy pop-hook-laden debut, “Broom,” was originally released in 2005 and found a re-release by Polyvinyl in 2006—since then the Springfield, Missouri outfit has gained fans across the globe (yes, even in Russia, where they did a mini-tour), a spot on “The O.C.” and vast amounts of favorable reviews, comparing the young group to Weezer, Elliott Smith and even Pinback. The likening to those artists seems undeniable—the heart-on-sleeve longing of “Broom”’s girl songs matches Rivers Cuomo’s ache, and at certain moments, the vocal harmonies and melodies sound eerily similar to the late Smith. New song “Glue Girls,” from the upcoming “Broom” follow-up “Pershing,” does sound a bit like Rob Crow’s Pinback but the remarkable and, most importantly, individualistic, approach Dickey and crew take to the material nods to the ancestors and looks to the future—it’s not a new sound, but it’s a good one. Categorize under nice-guy rock.
“The first album is definitely more introverted, more of a bedroom record, a stay-at-home-on-Friday-night-and-not-go-out record,” Dickey says. He speaks softly yet energetically, and at such a speed his words unnaturally roll into one another. “This one’s more about going to the party, but, you know, riding a bike there.”
He says the group felt pressure writing the new record because of the unexpected success the first album granted the band. “Definitely at first,” he says, “we couldn’t stop thinking about it. The first one we didn’t know we were going to have an audience, and this time, we were like, ‘There are thirteen girls in Germany who are gonna hear this.’ But we wanted to make something that was true to who we were, the experience of the past couple years. Most of the pressure was just on us getting along and not wanting to kill each other.”
Dickey acknowledges the first record’s heavy-hearted subject matter, and calls “Pershing” “more outdoorsy.” “It really has nothing to do with being a cool, hipster band,” he clarifies. “What’s that quote from Kurt Cobain? I’d rather be dead than cool.” (Tom Lynch)
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin plays January 28 at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600, at 9pm. It’s free, so you have no excuse.