The third album from this underrated Glaswegian band grabs us by the hand and leads us through concrete new-build estates, shadowy lanes and vast misty moors. The dark earthy vocals (think: Glaswegian Nick Cave) at times let through a ray of folk soaked light. Is that a love song, making it’s way through the dank? Yes, but before you know it we’re back to a bleak tale of a karaoke addicted murderer. What a whirlwind.
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Back with more cartoon gloom is Jacob Yates, who had a hand in the delightfully named ‘GOTHS!!!!’ record we had a good time with last year. Goths! Goths. Somewhat gothic is his new record of mythic fables, ‘The Hare, The Moon the Drone’, which takes in elements of woodlands ambient, death-march rock music and self-penned folklore.
It opens like Natural Snow Buildings jangling an end-times guitar tremor, but Yates quickly escalates the record into one of stony, hopeless rock, offering long, languishing stories and then burning them down with choruses that sound like mantras for a restless night. It’s dark; it’s macabre. Fans of old Nick Cave songs that delivered news of whichever guy murdered whomever other guy will be pleased to know Yates dedicates the flipside of this record to one long rumination of a serial killer who loved to do karaoke. All this done in styles that speak to the responsible landscapes: sometimes it’s noise-scarred, like an empty void with just death and nothing else; at other times there’s piano twinkling a little dour, like a dingy bar-room full of undoable future woe. On “The Drone (Part 2)”, Yates iterates his vocals with a breathless take on the grandstanding of Nick Cave, pounding and screaming his way to blood.
The prettier moments play out with a foreboding irony I hope never to meet in real life: the nifty little strums and muffled backing vocals of “A Scene From an Empty Living Room” suggest something worse hiding behind the mundane life chores, the “still” of lines like “I still fold your shirts” suggesting more death and transgression. The jazzy, brawling half-cover of Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” that exists in “Outside the Needle Exchange” kinda sums up how silly it is making music this seriously, grumpily baroque, but therein lies the fun, yes?
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- The Hare. The Moon. The Drone by Jacob Yates
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