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YONOKIERO – Blue Apples (CD, Front And Follow)

Posted: February 1st, 2009, by JGRAM

Musicians have to mature. If for nothing else they have to have “continued professional development” but equally if an act or songwriter continues to regurgitate the same turgid shit year after year it becomes insincere and even worse, boring. Bands that have a career (or yearn/strive for a career) tend to find their formula early (often a variation of someone else’s sound), stick with it and wind becoming stale and boring in the process. This can often carry an act through a long career as the quality of the material gets distracted by hype, personality and whole set of other elements that do not relate to the art therein. This album represents a victory against that kind of complacency and the beauty of evolution.

The two headed monster that is Yonokiero is the enduring partnership that fuelled the fire of Hirameka an indie generation ago and provided many noisy lo-fi moments and dreams rejuvenating a small circle of people and daring to brush up against some big dreams while tussling with real (professional) indie heavyweights.

At this point I have to admit I could never truly be subjective about these guys. I have lived with them, toured with them, argued with them, been sick on them but that is all in the past and with this record I am sufficiently detached and genuinely presented with something I was neither expecting nor recognise. Sure I have been hearing demos of many of these songs for a couple of years now but nothing in this form. I remember their first gig at a house party called the Green Man Roundabout Festival and how thrilling it was to witness the rebirth and reinvention.

The most noticeable transition and addition to their arsenal is the expansion of instruments and sounds. Pleasantly sedate, after all the noise and furore of Hirameka, this is very much their Unplugged In New York (especially on the intro on “Randolph Bourne”), echoing a similar direction that other heroes have taken in evolution with bands such as The Evens.

The highlight tracks amongst the Nick Drake enthused collection include “Hey Now”, one of the older songs on show full of gliding pop with an “About A Girl” feel and Larry Sanders nod in the song title. Conversely in a batch of carefully crafted tunes it is the loudest and heroically lumbering of “Rewound” with its “time for reunion” mantra coupled with beautiful disorientation in its distortion which provides a real bipolar response.

With vocals that are generally hushed in delivery, adding an air of mystery and often menace, it is difficult to decipher what is being said all of the time but for those that are clear the lyrics flow as closely coded and guarded riddles only a spectator next to the trees could fathom, a kind of antidote to the Neil Strauss way of thinking and a different take on making sense of situations. This is the work of a yo yo ego.

It’s not perfection but in a world so cold you have to welcome and support such a rank contender/outsider.

Thesaurus moment: restoration.

Front And Follow


JGram, friend of the stars, chartered accountant and pie enthusiast, likes nothing better than KICKING YOUR SKINNY ASS by way of a carefully-timed half-nelson followed by the CLOTHES LINE! OW! So never, never cross him. His dog Snowy is equally rockhard and will bite your lim bs off in the blink of an eye. And then paw your eyes out for blinking when he's biting you.

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