During this year’s Super Bowl I ate a donair eggroll (I KNOW, RIGHT!?). Initially, the sweet sauce and unexpected taste of spiced meat confused my palette and I’m sure the hosts saw the disappointment all over my face. I mean, it’s an egg roll chief, why fuck it up?
The thing is, once I processed the new flavor I was quick to reach for another.
This odd, and certainly ham-fisted analogy is the best I could come up with to describe my initial serving of the latest Yukon Blonde LP, Tiger Talk.
Already saddled with an endless – and unfair – barrage of Rapid Renards comparisons, and the notable disjointed juxtaposition between the studio and the stage, and you can see why recording a new material became a daunting task. Remarkably, rather than succumb to expectations, Yukon Blonde reinvented their sound again.
The sunshine, feel good 60′s anthems the band unveiled on the self-titled debut were incredible, so when I started hearing more energetic, gritty songs, I asked, “why fuck it up, chief?” Make no mistake, the spot on harmonies and booming hooks are still a huge part of the equation, but it’s the 16s on the snare, synths, interesting textures and pogo ready riffs that really define this effort. Those elements are also what made the first listen a bit of disappointment.
But after the second or third listen, you start to hear why this change was not only successful, it was essential for the band’s evolution. Yukon Blonde grinds it out on the road. They tour nonstop, and the pristine sound you heard on their debut record didn’t reflect the influences and energy the band brings to the table night in and night out.
Tiger Talk is the bridge from the stage to the listeners ear. The punk tinges – the thumping drums and truncated guitar strums on “Radio” explode from the speakers – hints of space rock and new wave synths help make this collection of songs immediate, but the band’s harmonies and appreciation of melody are what still make the best moments timeless. The vocals still take flight on choruses and when it all comes together, like it does on the punchy “Breathing Tigers” and the soaring opener, “My Girl”, you realize why the band makes new fans every single night they take the stage. Tiger Talk is a reminder that those fans will be around for the long haul.
I don’t think Tiger Talk is perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. The songs sound great played loud through the speakers, cement Yukon Blonde’s skills and open up countless new directions to explore. They will also continue to drive fans to the shows and show that Yukon Blonde is determined to make every release something new and exciting.