New Music Review: Yukon Blonde – Tiger Talk
Several years back, Yukon Blonde shed their original alias of Alphababy, moved from the dusty hills of Kelowna to the rainy beaches of Vancouver and released one helluva kick-ass debut, self-titled LP. So much kick-ass, in fact, that it inspired me to begin writing this blog.
Alright, sure – I may have been drunk on their fresh, harmony-fuelled sound as I was just getting into the indie music scene at the time. It’s possible that I touted it the best album of 2010 instead of the likes of Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, and the Black Keys.
But to me, it was.
Well, back in March of this year (2012), the former K-town rockers released their follow-up LP to their fantastic debut, and it’s an even bigger musical kick in the face than the predecessor. The first 3 tracks—My Girl, Radio and Stairway—come out of the gate cruising, spilling harmonies and super catchy hooks layered over danceable, playful tempos, igniting foot-tapping and air-drumming to anyone within earshot. Radio even boasts 2 blazing guitar solos in under a minute—my 23 year-old self is gushing.
The band ventures back to some more familiar territory with the 4th track, Iron Fist, which finds a mellower groove layered with more lovely 3-part harmonies that were omnipresent on their previous LP tracks like Rather Be With You, Wind Blows, and Loyal Man. Accompanied by a terrific bassline and watery guitar tones, Iron Fist is a standout.
That mellow groove doesn’t last too long, however, as the sixties vibe of Oregon Shores and the pulsing Six Dead Tigers bring tempos up and continue the pleasure assault on your eardrums. For LA and Breathing Tigers continue the trend, rocking pretty hard with only a few moments of breathing room, particularly on the outro of For LA. Truth be told, Breathing Tigers turned me off almost immediately the first time I heard it, but now I find myself singing it for days on end. It could very well be the band’s most obscure tune, but not in a bad way. In a good way—so long as the obscure tunes remain obscure and not commonplace. Then they wouldn’t really be obscure anymore…. right?
Guns is a rare piano ballad—possibly even a first?—that’s been perfectly executed. The song is titled “Guns” and makes strong references to guns, but my gut tells me that the song isn’t really about guns…
If it’s true what they say about guns, then count me out, my dear, and drown me into the ocean.
Well if it’s true what they say about guns, then it’s true about me.
Regardless of lyrical content, Guns is one of my favourites on the album as it stood out on the first taste and has only gotten sweeter with each suckle.
I can’t help but visualize a lone rebel riding off into the California sunset on his Valkyrie when I listen to Sweet Dee, which rounds out the 36-minute tease of an album. The song is a slow jaunt through time and space, fueled by lazy guitar plunks and an easy, sleazy shaker and tambourine section. I hear sunsets and dingy bars. I dig. I diiiiig.
But yeah, the album is only 36 minutes and change.
If you sense some bitterness, well there may be a little. I adore each song on this album; however, there just isn’t enough music on this highly anticipated sophomore effort. Sure, their first album only had 10 songs as well, but clocked in over 42 minutes. Tiger Talk only has 2 tunes trickling over the 4-minute mark, just not enough YB for my blood.
I’m no fool as I realize quality over quantity is always best, but knowing full well that these talented gents have some fantastic songwriting skills, I can’t help but wonder WHY there are only 10 tracks and only 36 minutes of music. I mean, this shit keeps me up at night. WHY?!
It’s a sore point, but it’s the only sore point for me with regards to Tiger Talk as the band has evolved wonderfully from their previous offering.
Tiger Talk is so good I think my cats even like it. But it could just be the name…