Yukon Blonde Take an Experimental Pop Turn on 'Vindicator'
Published Nov 12, 2020Vindicator, the fifth outing from Vancouver based Yukon Blonde, is an 11-song onslaught of pop psychedelia, chock-full of keyboard acrobatics and dance beats. It's the first record that has seen the ensemble write, record and produce entirely on their own — and their autonomy shows in the experimental vibe found throughout.
Kicking off with the chill, hook-laden jams of "It's What You Are," Vindicator grooves from start to finish, with singer-guitarist Jeff Innes often splitting vocal duties with keyboardist Rebecca Gray. "YGTT," another highlight track, with funky bass lines laid down by James Younger, sounds something akin to if Canadian soul hero Remy Shand were to front British trip-hop legends Massive Attack.
Keyboard theatrics and pop studio trickery aside, the record shines best with a less-is-more approach, where the band's focus is straight-ahead and song-centric; this is evidenced on tracks like "Your Heart's My Home," "Get Precious" and "Big Black Cloud."
On Vindicator, Yukon Blonde are an outfit that continue to evolve and experiment with their overall sonic palette, even though they has a tendency to be a little overzealous. When the keyboard pyrotechnics are on point, they add beauty and definition, but when they are too far to the front of the mix, they can overshadow the brilliance of the songwriting lying just below the surface.
In an age of boring, watered down, corporate, vanilla, focus-group engineered pop-rock shenanigans, it's cool to hear a group like Yukon Blonde still taking educated risks and maintaining the same punk DIY credos that put them on the Canadian musical map in the first place. (Dine Alone)