Yukon Blonde

On Blonde

Yukon BlondeOn Blonde
8
Yukon Blonde have always flirted with elements of electronic music. Even when their self-titled album came out in 2010 and early press photos found the Kelowna, BC-bred indie rockers sporting long-haired hippie chic like ponchos, leather jackets and flannel (and lots of it), their studio and stage presence was far too refined, groove-filled and focused for them to be lumped in with other more fanciful, seemingly throwback rock acts.
 
That's reflected in "Confused," the opener of Yukon Blonde's most ambitious, captivating and strangely accessible album to date, On Blonde. Casual listeners (and perhaps even long-time fans) may be mystified to discover that, from the outset of the album, the onetime Sheepdogs-supporting rock outfit have been replaced by a swaggering, synth-loving quartet (a quintet live) that's more concerned with atmosphere, undeniable hooks and the maximalist expression of both, rather than the pub-thumping sounds found on their previous two LPs. It's confusing at first, but makes sense the more you listen to each of the album's ten tracks.
 
Speaking with Exclaim! about his recent side-project High Ends, frontman Jeffrey Innes talked about how his debut, Super Class, helped convince the band that they could pull off a more synth-based sound, and it definitely shows here (especially on the Flock of Seagulls-evoking lead single "Saturday Night" and the crystalline "Como"). But there's also an overall emphasis on making the most out of each sound and idea. The band trade their Rickenbackers in for 12-string guitars and the vocals sound like they're doubled (maybe even quadrupled, on Hannah Georgas homage "Hannah" and late-album standout "Starvation"); everything sounds bigger, better and pushed to their breaking point, but also more nuanced and carefully considered at the same time.
 
Essentially, Yukon Blonde sound like a new band, and they may just be your new favourite because of it. (Dine Alone)
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