Dine Alone Records
Vancouver’s Yukon Blonde has gone from alternative rock to experimental indie pop on their latest effort. Vindicator is touted as the first album entirely written by the band itself and the result begs the question–why have they never done this before? Vindicator dives deep into experimental pools from start to finish. Echoes of Tame Impala’s Currents, Arctic Monkeys’ AM and even Fleetwood Mac mix in between the band’s newfound affinity for synth-pop, driven by funk and disco melodies of eras past.
With “Fickle Feelings”, Blonde lulls us into a trance with rhythmic blues, jazzy pianos, and layers of other instruments most people probably couldn’t name or identify, culminating to something of a cosmic trance as Gray’s voice echoes “Summer evenings, drunken love in Central Park/Deciphering the signs that cut like stars.”
On the disco ballad, “You Were Mine”, driving piano keys quickly evaporate into a melancholy synth that confidently struts through psychedelic territory, as instruments and vocals melt and drift from centre, only to be reined back in by the aforementioned piano rhythm. It’s expertly crafted and unexpected arrangements like these which drive Vindicator to feel subtle yet bold; tongue-in cheek without feeling Forced.
“In Love Again” is the closest the record gets to a slow song, which works to the record’s benefit as momentum is Vindicator’s secret sauce. On this Stevie Nicks reminiscent ballad, a ‘70s era pop hook is inundated by a well-balanced modern rock sentiment. Other record highlights include the folk-rocking radio bait “Your Heart’s My Home”, which doesn’t sacrifice soul for infectiousness. “F**k It” feels like it was made for a live show–an anthem for the online dating generation, uniquely imbued with wind instruments. “Good Times” earns big points for its sudden burst of EDM-inspired twists, sounding like a remix of itself. All in all, Vindicator surprises from start to finish, seldom feels repetitive, and cements Yukon Blonde as a force to be reckoned with. Nothing here ever strays away from the band’s usual groove and feels naturally tethered back to their pre-established charisma. With Vindicator, Yukon Blonde has managed to create a record that is so confident in its own joy that you can’t help but enjoy with a smile smeared across your face the entire time.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: YUKON BLONDE – VINDICATOR