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They say the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts and Yeti Lane are living proof of that old chestnut. Having spent seven years as part of critically acclaimed post rockers Cyann & Ben, the trio had to quickly employ a back-up plan culminating in a drastic change of direction when Cyann quit the group at the turn of last year. Whisper it quietly for now, but her departure could possibly be the best thing that's ever happened to the other three...
Not that Ben Pleng, Charlie Boyer and LoAc have re-invented the wheel as such. Instead, they've taken a more back-to-basics approach that fully justifies their unique moniker's origins. At times conjuring up images of The Beatles' more experimental lineage through the eyes and ears of Wayne Coyne, elsewhere favouring a more rhythmic repetition associated with the likes of Can or Amon Duul II, Yeti Lane is a sparklingly diverse collection of songs and ideas that suggest its creators have embraced their new direction like proverbial ducks to water.
Lead single 'Lonesome George' set the scene perfectly for the album, its sprightly delivery and shimmery chorus taking pop back to the underground in exemplary fashion. However, the majority of this record sounds nothing like said 45. Instead, Yeti Lane have gone for the jugular marked 'emotive'. While opener 'First-Rate Pretender' and its nascent build-up of guitar-bass-drums-vocals-POW! is eerily reminiscent of Buffalo Tom in their 'Taillights Fade' era of greatness, the rest of Yeti Lane takes on a slightly more plaintive shade of winsomeness. When Pleng sings "Every shade of blue suits you perfectly" on 'Black Soul', it could almost be an autobiographical reference in the context of this record. Likewise the grandiose swirl of penultimate show stopper 'Solar' not only sounds particularly incredible considering Yeti Lane are just a three-piece, but also carries the air of a lost artefact from Jason Lytle's library via Pet Sounds.
Its not all heartbreak and despair though. 'Twice' gallops and hurtles along like a breakneck Shins while 'Only One Look' takes an atmospheric journey into lo-fi territories only to discover a full range of orchestral tendencies towards its panoramic climax. Sometimes the need to personify the impersonal can make Yeti Lane unsettling listening - the slightly kitsch lounge muzak of 'Think It's Done' is one of those moments where the record loses its way slightly - but on the whole, the Parisian three-piece can hold their heads high, safe in the knowledge that they've made a record to be proud of, and in turn cemented Yeti Lane's place on the musical map. The real burden of expectation, of course, comes with album number two. Good luck, we're counting on you...
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