On the chorus of their song “Blood Cops,” the band Yukon Blonde stats that “It’s too late to go back on your own.” It’s an interesting sentiment considering the fact that the band did almost exactly that a while back. After finishing up a tour of their native Canada opening for and serving as the backing band for Jon-Rae Fletcher under their previous name Alphababy, the band changed their name, changed their location, signed a new record deal, and went about writing a whole new batch of songs.
The resulting set of songs is a strong, catchy self-titled reintroduction to the world that combines modern indie rock tendencies with 60s-era harmonics. In many ways, their sound conjures up images of Fleet Foxes and Sam Roberts crossed with Fleetwood Mac singing The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” a comparison that makes a lot more sense once you listen to the LP a few times. Shimmering guitars resonate alongside pleasant power-pop melodies, providing a suitable backdrop for the sparkling harmonies that Yukon Blonde provide in plentiful quantities across the ten songs that make up the album. Lead singer Jeff Innes has a wonderful smooth voice that he isn’t afraid to let loose at the right moments, while the rest of the band chimes in to craft some well designed three-part harmonies.
On the whole, Yukon Blonde manipulate this formula successfully creating a set of songs that can be both fun and anthemic without ever seeming too unwieldy. Songs like “Wind Blows” and “Trivial Fires” execute the indie-anthemic feeling to perfection, building upon layers of sound as they progress while the former of the two provides a big, hooky chorus that will stick with you for a few days. The soul-afflicted rhythms and character of “1000 Years” enable it to become a standout track on the album along with the chorus line of “1000 years ain’t enough to tear down your wall.” “Blood Cops,” the album’s other true standout, follows the more traditional indie power-pop format but it’s catchy songwriting and singalong worthiness force its recognition before too long. Despite all of this there are still places where the band stutters and stumbles just a bit. There are moments when the production quality becomes a little bit glossier than it should, as is the case on songs like “Babies Don’t Like Blue Anymore,” which ultimately suck some of their life out. In addition to this, the album closer “Loyal Man” also is a little bit too repetitive for its own sake as the vast majority of the song repeats the same chorus line over and over again.
Taking into account everything that Yukon Blonde bring to the table with their debut LP, it’s safe to say that they make more than a positive impression during the course of these ten songs. While there may be other bands that make more of a splash and take more creatively and sonically inclined risks while existing within a similar style of sound as these Canadians, there are few that can match the quality consistency they demonstrate on this record.