Time and again, we here at LondonFuse receive discs and downloads from great local (and/or Canadian) bands to review. But, who has the time to listen to them all?
If you’re looking for some new music to listen to, the long search is over. Fuse contributor Steve Murphy has reviewed three albums for your listening pleasure.
Yess Woah: Believe
Label: Self Released
Raw, minimal production showcases Yess Woah’s performances in their honest and natural state. These songs are bare bones.
Clear-toned, electric guitar is primarily used as a rhythm instrument. The drums are never over-played, keeping time but, never to the point of overtaking the confident vocals. The sparseness of instruments and production make it clear and purposeful that, Yess Woah songs are there for the lyrics and her voice.
After the albums first few toe-tappers, we get the slower tempo and gentle strumming of Soft Cold Night. It’s a definite standout and ushers in a shift in emotional tone to the album.
It’s one of those songs that makes you want to curl up in a soft, thick blanket, sipping a glass of red wine. Soft Cold Night is a perfect soundtrack to keep you cozy.
Minimal recordings such as this often become, dreary, mundane and repetitious however, these songs are sequenced to keep the listener interested.
Polyester Sometimes is a boisterous rock’n’roll song. Jessica uses her howling, sweet voice to exclaim, “And I love you/and I got what I need,” over a reverb-filled guitar riff. The sound is as sweet as the album cover but lighter… like cotton candy.
Other guitar/drum duos like White Stripes learned to incorporate varying instruments and styles as they progressed with their career. Whether it’s further exploring their “signature sound” or something new, I’m very interested to see where Yess Woah go next.
For fans of early Patti Smith, Cat Power
Available Formats: CD/Digital
Smokes: Wayne Death
Label: Self Released
Opening track Princess is a slow, synth, R&B tune that gives a false sense of security. Your ears aren’t expecting the sonic onslaught about to ensue. The fuzzed-out vocals, pulsating guitars, and machine-like marching drums are barely contained in these songs.
At any moment they sound like they are about to blow your stereo… but you still want to turn it up! The vocals are at times so muddy, specific words are difficult to make out, but I think I get the idea, and they sound cool.
Courage is a pretty, mid-album slow burner that never fully gives itself away. Your head bops along to the melody, while you try and decipher lyrics and before you know it it’s done. Thankfully, it’s good enough to make you want to listen again to try and figure it out.
Handsome is interesting but, not really a song. It walks the same path as earlier standouts Iodine and Porn but lacks their song structures.
The saving grace is how Handsome seamlessly transitions to 4souls – another glorious static-filled tune which develops into a behemoth before its last note fades.
Saturn follows suit, but kicks with increased fury and swagger not heard earlier.
For Fans of Big Black, Swans, Preoccupations
Available Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Fiends: Self-titled EP
Label: Self Released
“Falling In Line” thunders you into this is 5 song EP. The guitars pulsate over the gargantuan sounding drums with screaming, yet melodious vocals.
The second track, Thirty Something, continues the glowingly nostalgic 90’s loud-rock sound. The Fiends have two feet firmly placed with bands of yesteryear like Bionic or Change of Heart, whose sounds filled Call The Office and the Horseshoe Tavern in the later ‘90s and early ‘00s. There’s a groove and howling sound in the chorus that makes you wanna scream and cheers your buddy.
Track three is the only real misstep as it really slow things down. It’s an off-tempo track that showcases a good rhythm section but lacks a melody lifting it more than a few feet off the ground. This track also ends with a long fade out which leaves it sounding unfinished.
The Traces however, brings the goods right back.
Under Covers does a solid job of leaving on a high note. The screaming howl of the singer and anthem-like guitar solo beg you to holler along. The lyrics can sometimes be buried under the soaring, fuzzy guitars but, hey, some people care more about how it’s said than what’s being said.
Simon Larochette from The Sugar Shack has done another fantastic production. The songs are crisp like potato chips with vocals that soothe like syrup. What you get from listening to this EP is that these guys can play and probably put on a great show but, might not change your life. I’ll certainly check ’em out soon look forward to what they put out next.
6/10 (could’ve gotten higher but it’s only an EP)
Check out their bandcamp for 2018’s Easy Does It.