Aside from the truly great “Home from Home,” the Yo-Yo’s Uppers and Downers is a cliched bore of cheesiness greased up in tired pompadours and less-than-intelligent lyrics. While I hate to be so hard on a band that’s obviously having a lot of fun doing what they’re doing (evidenced by their New York City appearance a few months back when bassist/bonehead Danny McCormack vomited into a cup and (re)consumed the results in some kind of sub-par homage to the late GG Allin), who over the age of 17 has the time for this? The band has a knack for writing slick ‘n’ catchy tunes that could pass as a faux-punk Journey (check out the originally titled “Time of Your Life,” which should be in the ending credits of the television show of the same name) and claim to be indebted to “beer, burgers, and tits” in interviews (ironically enough, the Yo-Yo’s are from England, and not the all-American greasers you may have thought) but outside of the Sub Pop label, who seem to have reverted to signing “rawk” bands again, who really cares?
McCormack’s last band, the Wildhearts, sounded like a nice-guy version of Guns ‘N Roses, although the stories of excess that emanated from their speakers apparently rivaled Caligula. While the direction may have changed from glam metal to ‘50s style rockers and Beach Boy harmonies coated in Ramonesy punk, the lyrics “You are my sunshine girl / You rule my world,” would make even Dee-Dee cringe.
Uppers and Downers’ one shining moment occurs in the second song, “Home from Home,” which is as soaked in cheese as the rest of the album, yet somehow manages to allude embarrassment, and sounds like the best mid-tempo song Rancid could never write. With a production sound seemingly borrowed from Aerosmith, the Yo-Yo’s appear to be poised to take on the mainstream, yet who’s really listening?