Yukon Blonde are Canadian underground heroes.
Across three albums the band have blended subtle electronic elements to the psych rock template, continually twisting and turning at every opportunity.
New record 'Critical Hit' is out now, and it finds the Vancouver group effortlessly fusing their indie rock centred songwriting with elements of R&B and some of pop's more adventurous talents.
It's a bewitching listen, with Yukon Blonde storming past expectations, fulfilling long-held potential.
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This record is more or less about dating or forming relationships in the internet age; the saga this creates, especially in love breaking down, brick by brick. The internet has made everyone go crazy, and human relationships have taken a beating.
This is a loose definition of the vibes we were on when we made the record. It's hard to do a song by song breakdown, because as much sarcasm and wit as there is on this record, their is some intensely private shit in the lyrics too, and sometimes the vibe is just more our obsession with synthesizers and drum machines, aesthetics over lyrics blah blah...
But anyway. I'll keep this conversational in tone, cause that's fine, right?
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Too Close Too Love
This is about finding the perfect match and realizing that maybe they’re a bit too perfect. Without resistance or hurdles, there's no opportunity for growth or change. Kinda Unbearable Lightness of Being thing, when things are too perfect you want to destroy them, like holding an expensive vase in your hand and wanting to smash it.
Love The Way You Are
This is a positive vibe, a love song really, telling someone to not pay attention to the creeping narcissism that is Instagram etc... could be singing to ourselves I suppose.
Song title says it. Kinda about being trapped in a domestic war, when all you can do is sit tight and wait it out.
Just really wanted to write a song with a disco ballad vibe, the lyrics came after the chords and rhythm were down - but its about persevering and knowing that grief is necessary, that change is necessary - even when it hurts so bad.
Hardly Even There
I (Brandon) originally wrote this song on piano, I wanted to challenge myself and write an earnest, honest ballad, never with the intention to actually make the cut for our record. In short, this is a deeply personal song about my relationship with my partner, that at the time felt like we were helplessly growing further and further apart.
I recorded a short verse/chorus demo idea and hesitantly sent it to my bandmate James, he immediately responded with positive feedback and came over the next morning to help work out the structure. We messed about with the chords and some of the turnarounds, later that evening as James was walking home he sent a voice memo for lyrics to the second verse that fit perfectly.
I spent that night and the next afternoon recording the full song at home, adding midi strings, bass, guitars etc to the point where it started to sounded like a dated Carole King kind of song. Again; I sent the revised version back to James and thankfully he totally pulled the song apart and took it into a completely different direction.
Swapping the piano for an E-mu Emulator synth, replacing the basic beat with a slick D'Angelo drum/bass groove with stylish samples giving the overall song that modern depth that kept it cohesive with the rest of the songs we were currently writing for the album.
'Feeling Digital' is rooted in the sentiment that love is being lost to the conveniences of the internet and we are being desensitized to gestures of affection. Our brains have been overloaded with content and false connections and we are losing the ability to form new and lasting bonds with people. Social media has been found to trigger the same responses in the brain as drugs - that means that all of society is on drugs. EVERYONE IS ON DRUGS, really bad ones.
While there’s still a choice for some of us, what is the responsible thing to do as a human being? Do we simply submit ourselves to the ultra rich and continue to adapt to the digital world and just mainline Facebook with the rest of the planet, or risk being alone in the vacuum of the natural world? I for one welcome our robot overlords. Don’t ever leave me alone.
Summer In July
It's a literal song, listen to the lyrics once, it's beautiful, nostalgic, because time is painful. Crazy is about being a freak, and a potential lover thinking you are intense and you have to explain that yeah you are, but not about her, you just really like synthesizers and being alone with them.
Started as a full dance song, somehow reminds me of 'Rock The Casbah' now, I think it's about vulnerability and needing someone who is bad for you.
Painting On A Smile
We are in the living in Spain deep section of the record. James and Jeff were in Spain. James wrote this on a midi keyboard starring at Africa. The weird 500 year old house we stayed in was haunted for sure, and why the song has a Lennon / Nilsson vibe he can't be sure.
This song was a bit of a fortunate accident. Jeff, Graham and I were messing about in our rehearsal space one afternoon, jamming on random riffs and genuinely making the weirdest music possible. We did end up having this repeating melody that I thankfully decided to record on my phone.
A few weeks later I woke one morning suffering from a really bad cold. Feeling like absolute death I randomly sift through my voice memos, I stumbled upon that particular jam from a few weeks prior and knew I had to make something of it. The song was demoed front to back within a few hours that afternoon. I think because I was feeling so ill, the lyrical narrative happened to be about a fictional character who loses the love of his life to a fatal illness and can't shake her presence; everyday life is a constant memory of Nancy.
(Fun fact) When it came time to re-track the song at Taurus with Thomas D'Arcy, we decided to keep my original ill, stuffy nosed sounding demo vocals that I recorded at home. If you listen carefully you might even hear the No. 9 transit bus go by my living room window.
This Is Spain
(James Speaking): This is one of my favourite lyrics Jeff ever wrote, ask me why at any opportunity, in any interview.
Ritual On The Docks
Heartbreaker of a lyric, and very literal. The End. the End of everything. Seeing someone and knowing it will be the last time.
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'Critical Hit' is out now.
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