Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Album Review - Life By The Yellow Melodies (2017) (The Beautiful Music)

Most reviews I have read so far, refer to this release as 'jangly indie-pop'...If this is the case then why does it sound so original compared to the absolute plethora of bands that can legitimately lay claim to be  releasing music under such a banner?

I suspect the uniform usage of such an expression maybe due to the need to cover up the following: a) the fact that this sound is something vastly more mischievously cute than jangly indie-pop and b) the fact that they actually enjoy the album despite the fact that in its general justification this band/album are, without doubt, categorically as...

So there it is...I have said the dirty T word and a T@!e band has now, not only manage to finally cleave me from any respect as a music blooger, but has also made me bid farewell to the $15 dollars I sent to the good folk at The Beautiful Music label in Canada to hurredly purchase the album.

So was this 'dirty money'? Are they really as 'twee' as I suggest or is everyone else right to hide their twee loving shame behind the indie-pop banner? Well, 'they are twee' is unmistakably the answer. Twee people are always happy. It would be impossible to identify even the remotest semblance of melancholy in this album...Twee people love all things nostalgic. This album floats through various 60's psyche influences and BMX Bandits / Teenage Fanclub / Pale Fountains reference points. Twee folk enjoy dainty accessories and thus the sound is infused with all sorts of glocks, triangles and strange percussive accompaniments.

Most of all the vocals are interminably 'sweet'. Such a word has bad connotations for me after working in the US and being asked by women to 'say something' because my British accent 'is so sweet'. As such I really do not want to force such a word on the description of Rafa Skam's vocals. However, when a Spanish person speaks or sings in English, they do so more slowly than their mother tongue and almost appear to add extra syllables to the most mono-syllabic of words (best seen in my favourite track, Come and See (below)). Ultimately it just adds to the sweety-pie cuteness of all things twee about this album.

So what is it that has persuaded so many hairy chested, Old Spice and Brut splashing, lager drinking, football watching manly critics to not only look over the edge of the 'twee precipice' but to decide to jump head first in (albeit sneakily by calling it indie-pop!)?


The answer is succinct. The answer is undeniable. The album is just exceedingly brilliant. It does not matter that the band are ultimately as twee as a nerdy kids favourite cardigan when they are able to juxtapose this foundation with some of the most perfect melodies that are available in modern music.

Although there are many examples of this on this relatively short album, such as the brilliant opening title track (see the most twee video you will ever see above), Flying Together and Everything (one of the best opening triple salvos of tracks to be found in the jangle-pop genre), the finest track on the album is the superlative The Urban Cyclist (see below) where the guitar riffs hang, chime and jangle one after another as if they were decreed as the 'chosen ones' to perfectly showcase all that is wonderful about the genre.

This is the first actual release from The Yellow Melodies in their own right in approximately seven years, which I suppose could be considered a good thing as ingesting too much of the sweet things in life can lead to complications...but personally I wish my life would be a little more complicated a little more often and I had more opportunity to get my twee on!

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  1. Love it. And it's yet another album with a wave swinger on the cover. Popular image source these days!