When this unlikely group of strange looking fellows took the stage at The O2 Academy Islington, London this week the audience didn’t know quite what to think.
The ‘Costello’ (or perhaps Loyd Grossman), double on the guitar / keys (Fred) seemed – to all the world – as if he was urgently looking for a fight. And the gurning the bass player (Bill) seemed quite extraordinarily deranged.
So, understandably, the audience kept themselves at a safe distance from the stage.
But YEALLOW ( this quartet from Strasbourg, France) with their musicality, precision mechanics, and hard edged indie rock sounds, soon gained a cautious crowd.
With songs like ‘Blown Away’ we got a pliant funky base – with fizzy splashes of guitar chords and those characteristically bleak and even somewhat somnolent vocals that may remind you of ‘Morrissey’. These vocals tended to spiral around like mayflies in a spring breeze. Rattling good drum-work ensured things were kept chugging along in a uniform way, and the bass play kept things deeply bubbling under the surface.
With a keen ear for idiomatic key change ( wherever it can be squeezed in), and a desire for authentic craftsmanship to create their moody aural soundscapes, Yeallow were shamelessly punk most of the time- yet they really were as soft as a puppy dog’s tummy – when it came down to it.
Driving, repetitive and mechanical they may be, but they were also able to provide finely-cut pop songs with deserving choruses, at the appropriate moment. Their emotions may have been hard to decipher, but their intentions were clear – they were there to make populist rock music for the rank and file – inflected, naturellement, with a thick slice of Alsatian philosophical whimsy.
There is nothing fashionable about this band – quirky is the word. But there is something engaging and entertaining to be discovered within their relaxed Gallic off-beat charm. Check them out to see what I mean.
– © Neil_Mach July 2012 –
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