New Music Review

Yukon Blonde – On Blonde
By Glen Ess
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On Blonde, the third release by Kelowna based quintet: Yukon Blonde, joins an ever expanding list of 2015 releases that draw upon the sound of the 80’s. With bands such as Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala, as well as solo acts like Brandon Flowers, Little Boots and Shamir joining in on the fun and releasing groovy releases full to bursting with catchy hooks, Yukon Blonde are certainly in good company with this album.
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Stylistically, the album is driven by the use of synths to create a stunning collection with poppy hooks and catchy choruses. The heavy use of keyboards and synthesizers to drive the album certainly contributes to the retro, glitzy 80’s pop rock feel that permeates throughout each individual song. The first half of the album is powerfully delivered, fast and contains the strongest songs. With “Saturday Night” and “Make U Mine” standing out in particular. After the midway track, “Hannah”, which isn’t as brashly confident as it’s predecessors, serving as a sort of breather before the band builds the intensity back up, culminating in the final two tracks, “Favorite People” and “Jezebel”.
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With the keyboard taking center stage, the rest of the instruments do seem to fade significantly into the background at several points. The drumming is lush but often under utilized and the bass-lines are simplistic, though they contribute heavily to the groovier, more danceable songs, proving that complexity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. The use of guitars however, was timed to perfection, jumping at the exact moment to wrench attention away from the keyboard and command the flow of the song, albeit always on a temporary basis.
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Lyrically, the album contains simple, catchy, repetitive choruses, making it very hard not to join in, especially during “Saturday Night”. The lyrics themselves aren’t particularly deep, or carry much in the way of emotional weight or hidden meanings. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as it helps avoid the overwrought purple prose that’s chock full of unnecessary imagery. “On Blonde” follows a very simple script, it’s about going out, having a good time and maybe getting someone to go home with you.
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A catchy and easy on the ears release, it may not stick in your mind for very long but it’ll be enjoyable while it lasts, it certainly compares favorably to other 80’s infused releases from this year.
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Highlights: Make U Mine, Saturday Night & Jezebel.

Glen also hosts Rhythm & Rhyme on Fridays from 4-6 on CIVL 101.7 FM