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Yukon Blonde: On Blonde

Photo: Olivia Jaffe

Yukon Blonde are a band that focuses on simple indie pop, and with On Blonde they succeed in just, and only, that.

Yukon Blonde

On Blonde

Label: Dine Alone
US Release Date: 2015-06-15

Some bands go for a mix of sounds on their first couple albums. They implement a sort of “see what sticks” strategy to their musical aesthetic. In truth, this is a pretty bold approach and one that can lead to just as many duds as successes. It is rare a group will produce a surprising and eclectic album which jumps from one musical theme to another seamlessly. More often than not this strategy results in a schizophrenic mess, one whose peaks may be high, but whose low points ultimately challenge the listener’s patience.

Yukon Blonde do not take this tactic, and they do not ask much of their listeners. Formerly Alphababy, the band are entering their third album with On Blonde with little sonic variety to speak of. While this may be the safer route for a traditional indie-pop group, their use of simple pop hooks along with a bevy of repetitious choruses can lead to tedium, a much subtler yet equally effective killer.

This is not to say that the band are not skilled in the way of indie pop. There are successful points in which On Blonde delivers on exactly what it promises. The album’s single, “Saturday Night”, is an undeniably catchy disco/funk-themed jaunt with lyrics that promises of a “Saturday night on the town”, an idea that perfectly mirrors the upbeat tune. This, along with several other songs on the record, drive home the idea prevalent throughout the band’s catalogue; they are a band having fun, and are focused on finding more fun to have.

“You Broke The Law” dials back the funk and puts more focus on the guitar section, all while maintaining the vibe at the heart of the album. The rolling, satisfying guitar riffs, along with some meandering solos serve to highlight yet another memorable chorus, one that continues stick in the head for hours.

Many of the songs on On Blonde follow this familiar pattern of catchy guitar riffs, funky synths and catchy-as-can-be lyrics, but there are some songs that stick out, if only a little, as more original. “I Wanna Be Your Man” takes the usually airy guitar and turns up the fuzz changing the sound just when the album absolutely needed it. The synthesizer takes a bit of a break as the track takes a much more vocally-centered tone, one that mostly keeps with the dance and funk atmosphere that exists throughout On Blonde.

Yukon Blonde have found the thing they do right: catchy choruses and hooks interesting enough to warrant at least a couple listens. The issue is that they seem perfectly content with what is a very imperfect sound. Adding even a little lyrical depth could make On Blonde more than the generic record it ultimately is. Hooks like “Lose control / Take it slow / Let me know” do nothing to make this album any more than the pre-packaged indie-pop that it is. Although this is mildly successful, Yukon Blonde fail to takes any real chances, a problem they must deal with if they are ever going to grow.


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