Review Summary: Lacking both bark and bite, Yukon Blonde make up for their deficiencies by being painfully inoffensive.
Blandness is a crippling thing. The ability to be inoffensive - a quality that Vancouver indie-trio Yukon Blonde certainly possess - can spoil a lot. It can turn eccentric people into formalistic drones, it can water down potentially impacting messages into digestible fun facts and, in this case, it made an otherwise promising indie album really quite boring. You see, the fascinating tidbit about all things inherently bland (Yukon Blonde included) is that there’s usually nothing obviously wrong
with being “bland”. Quite simply, it’s not good and it’s not bad - it’s just there
. Inoffensive. Harmless.
Such rings true with Yukon Blonde’s eponymous debut. The musicianship and songwriting is quite solid throughout and the band manages to satisfy the indie sweet tooth on many occasions, but for the most part, Yukon Blonde
suffers from a chronic case of vapidity. Ho-hum. Take, for example, opener ‘Babies Don't Like Blue Anymore’. Within seconds, Yukon Blonde’s nostalgic sound becomes apparent - and believe me, you’ve heard it before. Unmemorable reverb soaked guitar lines? Yes. An incessant bombardment of clean cut harmonies and typically clichéd lyrics? Of course. Yukon Blonde
has all those things and more - and hey, the musicianship is great; the vocals are even better. To be fair, ‘Wind Blows’ is one of the catchiest songs of 2010 so far and ‘Brides Song’, in particular, is a concoction definitely worth marveling about. The song presents the band toying with dynamic and variation on the odd occasion, and the incredibly tasteful guitar solo and smothering climax of the song’s ending are actually quite beautiful.
Memorability, however, is found too far and few between on Yukon Blonde
. You won’t remember Jeff Innes’ guitar and vocals lines after closer ‘1000 Years’ pans out; you won’t remember much after Yukon Blonde
runs its course. You’ll probably be able to put together a few generalizations, such as “this album sounded pretty indie
” or “mmm, nostalgic
”, but the content of the album won’t stick with you. An album so inoffensive and unmemorable that it becomes hard to articulate! It’s only appropriate though, isn’t it? Yukon Blonde are surely a band not trying to deliberately deviate and create something completely out of the box - and kudos to them for that. Yet, in a music scene where basically everything
has already been done before - where people seem to crave new ideas more than ever before - releases like Yukon Blonde
are a bit unsatisfying. Sometimes simply being “pleasant” doesn’t cut it. For your shimmering sound and overwhelming benignity, Yukon Blonde, I award you - but, in all honesty, you are pretty boring.