ALBUM REVIEW: Yukon Blonde – Vindicator

8/10

Yukon Blonde - Vindicator

Vancouver’s Yukon Blonde released their fifth album, entitled Vindicator, a few days ago. Encompassing 11-tracks, the album merges spectral melodic textures, rife with psychedelic tinges, with vocals augmented by the enlarged appearance of Rebecca Gray’s marvellous voice.

Ever since forming ten years ago, Yukon Blonde’s sound has metamorphosed in delicious ways, ranging from the heavier rock flavours of their self-titled debut album to the retro pop savors of 2015’s On Blonde, followed by the moody soundscapes of 2018’s Critical Hit. Made up of Jeffrey Innes (vocals/guitar/keys), Brandon Scott (vocals/guitar), Graham Jones (vocals/drums), James Younger (vocals/bass/keys), and Rebecca Gray (vocals/keys), Vindicator is the first album written, recorded, and produced by the band. The result is music polished to a high sheen, yet at once relaxed and alluring.

James Younger explains, “We’re more mature and comfortable with ourselves now and we know that we can try something new even at this stage in our career. We completely deconstructed the narrative of the band and made the music that felt good at the moment.”

The album’s title – Vindicator – mirrors Yukon Blonde’s perspective on the end product. According to Jeffrey Innes, “You don’t really need to compete with yourself, you just need to challenge yourself.” While Younger shares the feeling of accomplishment, saying, “It’s a very rewarding feeling taking control of yourself and your creative ambition. It’s something that you can ride high on because expectations were met and fulfilled and that’s a joyous thing.”

From a purely subjective viewpoint, entry points include “Fickle Feelings,” gliding on creamy dream-pop-lite melody topped by gilded, glowing vocal harmonies. Gleaming guitars and a vibrating bassline imbue the tune with tantalizing colouration.

“Play Along” melds sparkling pop flavours with hints of yacht rock as burnished falsettos infuse the lyrics with luminous timbres, made even shinier juxtaposed against the hefty throb of the bassline. “In Love Again,” vaguely reminiscent of The Cranberries crossed with Fleetwood Mac, only more jangly and brighter, ripples and flows on silky filaments of sound.

Rolling out on velvety R&B tones like warm Velveeta, “Fuck It” sashays forth with radiant, cashmere vocal harmonies, giving the lyrics subtle washes of implication. Whereas “Get Precious” features a funky groove, popping with fat energy, while strident accents imbue the harmonics with vibrant pigments. At times frothy, at times smooth with sonic flecks of gloss, Vindicator is always lush and scrumptiously spellbinding.

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