I wasn’t planning on reviewing Alpha Chrome Yayo’s 19th Hole. Another interview with this synthwave legend is coming soon. I figured that we could get into it then.
But sometimes you hear something that you cannot sit on. 19th Hole needs to be listened to, by everyone. Not only because of its quality but also because it’s one of the funniest, most batshit crazy things you’ll ever allow into your ears.
But what exactly is 19th Hole? Well, it’s a 15 track opus. A sarcastic love letter to golf, which touches on the unique space it fills in business, culture, and society.
What do you normally picture when you think about golf? Personally I see old, rich white men in terrible sweaters, followed by caddies with the relative status of feudal serfs. “Where the HELL is that Caddy?!” does a great job of exploring this.
It addresses a significant facet of life under late-stage capitalism. The bourgeoise is plagued by anxieties. They know that society would crumble without proles to cut their cigars, fetch their balls and polish their trophies.
Am I reading too much into this? No. At their best, vaporwave/future synth etc…can be commentary. Satire born from nostalgia. Ye olde promo videos for golfing resorts have dated badly. They also continue to reveal how ridiculous the culture around golf can be.
At the risk of turning this into a post-modern, Marxian dialectic; it’s worth noting that golf can be elitist. Powerful people network through it. Club membership is a status symbol. And it’s absurd that this is the case.
And 19th Hole is absurd. I was crying with laughter by the time I reached “Sweater Round the Shoulders (And One for the Waist).” “Sweater…” is only the second track.
Do you know what else is absurd? Comparing dick sizes. Swinging one’s club you might say. There’s a weird machismo attached to corporate golfing culture. 19th Hole nods towards it repeatedly with titles like “Gimme dat Wood,” “Bitchin’ Putt” and “Now That’s Hard Driving.”
“And That, My Friends, Is What I Call Golf” makes a stretch out on the green seem as masculine as wrestling a fucking bear. All with a funky jazz backing and a guitar solo so dangerous that it can’t be allowed in the clubhouse.
This was posted on Twitter:
I’m struggling to decide how serious I was being because “Power Drive” is fucking great. Danny Madigan previously worked with ACY on Grangeweird. A bizarre EP about a “Suburban sorceress.” “Power Drive” is more straightforward than most of the tracks on that, but it’s still demented.
It’s a silly, but still bitching cut of 80s power rock. This one’s charitable to (mid-level) businessmen who play golf to relieve the stresses of the 9 to 5. We can all agree that “I take off my corporate noose, take out a 9 iron and I cut it loose” is a profound statement for the ages.
ACY made an important point about “Power Drive” himself:
I’m worried that I’ve been too harsh on golf. It brings a lot of joy into people’s lives. Playing golf, watching golf, loving golf doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. But there are a lot of hazards on the course.
And it’s so amazing that something like 19th Hole can help you contemplate this. Especially when it is, in of itself, so weird and so much fun.
You can find Alpha Chrome Yayo here:
19th Hole is out now on Bandcamp. It will be available on Spotify from April 24th.
Genre: Vaporwave, future synth, synthwave.