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Way Yes

Walkability

(self-released; US: 17 Dec 2010; UK: Not Available)

Walk This Way

As the saying goes, success breeds imitation. With Vampire Weekend bringing Afrobeat to the indie rock masses, it was inevitable that a band like Way Yes, a group that hails from Columbus, Ohio, would eventually come along with a similar sound. While Way Yes – not to be confused with another band out there called the Yes Way – straddles the line towards sounding more like Paul Simon in his mid-‘80s Graceland period perhaps more so than the jittery indie pop of Vampire Weekend, the line that intersects the groups is undeniable. Thankfully, Way Yes is not just another retread, as they have a slightly distinctive beach-baked din.


With Walkability, their second EP, the duo of Glenn Davis and Travis Hall throw in everything from a hint of rockabilly to Middle Eastern influences, making for a very pleasurable toe-tapping listening experience. The first self-titled track, arguably the best thing to be found on this extended play, has a distinctive Caribbean flavor and brings forth a mental image of Simon on some sand dunes somewhere with a piña colada in his hand. “Important” is a much more streamlined song, and recalls Jackson Browne a little bit—if only Browne hailed from the African subcontinent instead of Southern California. “Singing” chugs away with a metallic clamor and smooth female backing vocals, underpinning a dark theme about facing death with a song on your lips.


And so it goes through a total of five tracks, which act as a teaser for something greater from this band, who seem to be content releasing recordings in a short format—at least for now. Walkability shows a young band still honing its sound, but they’re onto something remarkable, which is all the more astounding considering that Davis and Hall have gestated in a musical backwater. They might be, on the surface, a knock-off, but as Way Yes reach deeper into foreign record collections, my bet is that they will produce something truly transcendent, based on the goods here.

Rating:

Zachary Houle is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee for his short fiction, and the recipient of a writing arts grant from the City of Ottawa. He has had journalism published in SPIN magazine, The National Post (Canada), Canadian Business, and more.


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