Yeti Lane - Yeti Lane

Chris Tapley 19/01/2010

Rating: 4/5

Despite being signed to the acclaimed shoegaze label Sonic Cathedral you won't be emerging from the other side of this Parisian trio's debut album with ringing ears. In their former guise as Cyann & Ben they released three albums of feedback shrouded pop and, after shedding a member, they have now condensed their psychedelic noise tendencies in to more tangible slices of pop music. Of course this change of pace is not too dissimilar to that of last years biggest indie success, and it doesn't take long before the Animal Collective comparisons become more apparent. Most notably so on Twice, which exhibits a similar muted effervescence which gradually spirals further out of control over the course of five minutes. The vocals have a hypnotic quality which helps to achieve this, particularly with their high tempo delivery laid over reels of fizzing guitar, crisp drums and bursts of freakish carnival-esque organ. This is followed by the saccharine pop of Black Soul which whilst being minimal in it's approach it also displays an adept talent for song craft which mirrors the likes of Atlas Sound. It layers gorgeous reverb laden guitar licks with subtle swells of synth and delicate vocals that border on just the right side of sickly, this is a song which wouldn't sound the slightest bit out of place on daytime radio and is all the better as a result.

Yeti Lane quickly remind us where they're coming from though with the Yo La Tengo-like melancholy of Think It's Done; the subdued vocals and consummate ease with which the song ebbs and flows from sections of mildly frantic angular guitars to spacey synths and delicate harmonies recalls the Hoboken trio at their best. Again though it's the pop sensibilities of the song which makes the presence of these elements so exciting, they're not immediately apparent and so are all the more more intriguing when they reveal themselves. The beautiful euro-folk of Tiny Corrections is the only hint at the band's French origins in terms of musical influence as it combines lush acoustics with evocative spurts of trumpet and alto sax (provided by one half of French duo Zombie Zombie). Only One Look incorporates a darker sound built around gut wrenching rattling bass, echoing vocals and staccato drums which is akin to the likes of Low or Codeine before adding in bubbling synths and toying with uplifting guitar lines which threaten to explode in to a rainbow of euphoric sound but never does. This is slightly disappointing as it's a track just crying out for something more to happen and a grand finale, perhaps including more brass would have been nice. This is something which isn't a problem for recent single Lonesome George which fizzes with dynamics, sprightly guitar, rumbling bass and looping sequencers clash with soft vocals which recall Grandaddy, it's clear to see why it was chosen as the lead single.

On first listen this album struck me as a collection of fairly pedestrian alt-rock songs floundering in a sea of mediocrity, and I was ready to dismiss it as such, but with each further listen the songs wormed their way in to my head and the layers began to slowly unravel. As it becomes more and more clear the vast array of influences which have been condensed in to these songs and as you begin to catch the little flourishes which peak out under choruses and subtly skewed melodies this album becomes more and more engrossing. As the boundaries between the mainstream and the alternative become increasingly blurred it seems inevitable that we will begin to see more and more esoteric influences creeping in to the foundations of popular music and vice versa. Particularly given that this is their debut album Yeti Lane have done an excellent job of showcasing just how effective this can be. There's a bit of something for everyone here and that really ought to dilute it's brilliance but somehow it only enhances it, and that in itself is enough to convince me that Yeti Lane could well be one of the big breakthrough acts of 2010.