Friday, July 3, 2009

Ragged & Ecstatic

Did you hear Yves Klein Blue went to Hollywood to record their new album? 'Tis true! The Brisbane foursome have been on the circuit for a few years now but have released and re-released EPs, the last one being 'Yves Klein Blue Draw Attention To Themselves' included in it the well-known 'Polka' that turned up all over the Triple J airwaves and on a car commercial too.

That background aside, they have just released their debut album 'Ragged & Ecstatic", a 12-track composition of some wailing vocals, diverse range of instruments as well as the basis of drum, guitar and bass; the album surprising exhibits versatility of the band captured under the bright lights of Hollywood. The first track 'Make Up Your Mind' does not tastefully start off the album for me personally, I find the repeptitive loop of piano and guitar riffs build up pressure in my head like something's running around in there. Skip, next song.
YKB begin to hit a better note with me when it comes around to 'Getting Wise' and 'Digital Love'; 'Getting Wise' has a catchy melody and is one of those kind of songs where you bring out the invisible piano as well as skipping on the spot. 'Digital Love' is a track that feels darker than the others but that's what I like about it, it's separated itself from the other fluffier songs and has delved into unpredictable territory with sensual undertones.

YKB manage to slip in an acoustic and more down-tone mood mid-way through the album but the boys re-emerge with their ska-type of energy in 'Summer Sheets'- a charming song about young love with trumpets reminiscent of the '10 Things I Hate About You Soundtrack' but it's an optimistic track that really lifts the album. The lyrics are amusing and clever: "..when we make love it's like a great conversation where we always end up agreeing".
'Polka' is like the celebrity of the album, everyone know it and everyone has heard it more times than their fingers and thumbs can count..but there is good reason to it, it's a cleverly structured and constantly teases you when it appears to build up and gives a sudden drop, then another build up. It is infectiously a track to dance to and with the ripping guitars it's easy to dance like you're possessed. 'Polka' has all the highs and lows that it should, which makes it a stand out from the more straight forward tracks. The closing track 'Gin Sling' has a country twist on it and offers a laid-back last impression of the album.

I admit, I've had to listen to this album four times in order to write something constructive and I have begun to like and differentiate certain tracks. There are plenty of danceable tracks and a generous variation in flavours-this is not the sort of album you would say all the songs "sound the same". Overall YKB have assembled an unpredictable album together and the future is looking bright, this album proves that after "Polka's" success they are not a one-trick pony.

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