Yoo Doo Right

Photo by Stacy Lee

Montreal sonic maestros Yoo Doo Right just dropped their debut album

An interview with the local post-rock/ krautrock/ shoegaze trio about their first LP, Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose.

Even though they’ve just released their debut full-length, Yoo Doo Right — the local post/krautrock/shoegaze trio made up of Justin Cober (guitar, synthesizers, vocals), Charles Masson (bass) and John Talbot (drums, percussion) — are already planning their next release. 

The debut full-length, Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose, with a name that sounds like a sinister self-help instruction, dropped on May 21. Sonically the record is both a nebulous and lustrous champion, running the gamut from wall of sound shoegaze to frenetic, halcyon post-rock. 

“It’s kind of about this idea of building a life for yourself that you don’t feel like you have to escape from … kind of finding what makes you tick as a person and finding purpose in that outside of what would be considered viable under the umbrella of capitalism,” Cober says. “I haven’t actually listened to the full record in a long time,” Cober says. “We recorded it in 2019 before the pandemic so It kind of feels like a distant memory.” 

Yoo Doo Right was in the Hotel2Tango studio a few months ago with producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh — the musical core of the Jerusalem in My Heart project, who’s also responsible for recordings by bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor — to finish up their next full LP, which will feature collaborations with a few other Montreal musicians. 

There are also quite a few songs that didn’t make the cut for Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose so Cober says there will eventually be more split records like the one with they released with Japanese psych rock gurus Acid Mothers Temple last June. 

“This record that’s about to be released is quite old. The pandemic really pushed back our plans for releasing it. So a lot of this material, even though it’s very new, we haven’t played a lot of it live,” Cober says. “We’ve been listening to these songs for the past two or some odd years. And yeah, we’d like to keep a certain momentum in moving forward.” 

“Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose”

Like many post-rock albums, the focus is on the instrumentation and atmosphere, and Yoo Doo Right are sonic maestros at both. A song like “IN914” sounds like the birth of time itself and then quickly descends into an apocalyptic maelstrom.

The vocals on Escape Your Purpose are sparse, stemming from a source of instrumentation and repetition rather than descriptive language. Perfect examples are on “The Moral Compass of a Self-Driving Car” and the title track. 

“Yeah it’s usually me picking a phrase that I’ve had rattling around in my head, and I’ll just repeat it,” Cober says. “It’s very much just another timbre of the music. Vocal acrobatics for me tend to be a bit tedious.”

When he’s not busy melting minds with Yoo Doo Right, Cober is creating boutique guitar pedals with his company Mile End Effects, many of which are featured in Yoo Doo Right’s music. He even created a limited fuzz pedal named after the Escape Your Purpose album. 

“It’s like a Univox Super-Fuzz that Charles and I both use and and I kind of modified that circuit. We screen printed our album cover on it. But that’s how we get that really heavy face-smashed-in fuzz sound.”

It may be awhile until fans are able to witness Yoo Doo Right live. Restrictions are lightening up and sit-down shows are popping up in various venues, but Cober and his bandmates are holding out until live music is the normal way it was pre-pandemic. 

“We played a show a year ago and it was like a 50-person seated show and I don’t want to say we’re over that or live streams, but you don’t feel the same connection with people,” he says. “There’s nothing like someone stumbling into us playing live — cause we can be pretty punishing, commanding and very loud — and having no idea who we are but loving the intensity.” ■

For more about Yoo Doo Right, please visit their Bandcamp page.

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.