Yukon Blonde stays charming on Fire//Water
Given the success that Yukon Blonde enjoyed in the wake of its Polaris Music Prize–nominated debut album, it makes sense that the band would want to stick to its formula when crafting the follow-up. Fans of last year’s self-titled LP will find a lot to enjoy on this four-song EP, which delivers another ’70s-tinged dose of chiming guitar licks and honeyed, AM-radio vocal harmonies.
Opener “Fire” sets a sunny mood with its breezy mid-tempo groove and wordless falsetto hook, before giving way to a wheezy harmonica outro. The song benefits greatly from the production work of local studio wiz Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Black Mountain), who douses the mix in atmospheric reverb without detracting from its listener-friendly immediacy.
The rest of the EP follows in kind, deviating only slightly from the first song’s feel-good vibe: “School Kids” is a no-nonsense pop-rock stomper, while “Water” contains a comparatively trippy instrumental break in which jagged shards of guitar are briefly engulfed in a psychedelic swirl of effects. “Choices” rounds out the EP with hymnal vocals and a Bic-waving, “Freebird”-esque finale.
If Fire//Water had been released in the summer, this material would have had a guaranteed place on every rock-music lover’s road-trip playlist. As it is, these four slices of sonic sunshine ought to brighten the rainy months ahead. While Yukon Blonde gears up for its second full-length in 2012, this proves there’s still mileage in the band’s familiar sound.