You could be forgiven for describing Compare & Despair as a twee pop album gone awry. Yes, the trippy rainbow-laden cover is present, as are Llobet’s heady vocals and endlessly catchy guitar riffs, but to place Youbet in any box would be a grave disservice not only to the artist himself but to listeners everywhere. On the album’s third single, “Mental,” Youbet needs a mere one minute and 40 seconds to run the musical and emotional gamut.
The subversion of adulthood’s woes seems high on this album’s list, and “Mental” is no exception. Llobet’s seemingly resigned cries of, “Mental illness, it grabs you and pulls you down under…and you’re running around, and you’re running in circles” open into a sudden release of frustration, carried by an indomitable burst of punk-rock energy. The quietude is in one fell swoop replaced by bright drums and a timed bass line that can only be described as irresistible—a true head bopper.
"Mental" approaches depression from a place of deep maturity and battles it with an almost childlike freedom. You can practically hear Llobet saying, “well, this sucks, so why not put it in a pop song?” The attitude is as refreshing as the song’s musical patchwork is rich, and the outcome is a track that is, in the best way possible, the Spongebob Squarepants of music—you can listen to it on your terms, but the deeper you look, the more you will find.
Compare & Despair will be out on January 19th. You can preorder the album here.