According to BC rockers Yukon Blonde frontman, Jeff Innes, Critical Hit is a record of a dualistic nature.“As much sarcasm and wit as there is on this record, there is some intensely private shit in the lyrics too, and sometimes the vibe is just more our obsession with synthesizers and drum machines, aesthetics over lyrics," Innes said about the album.
This is the band’s fourth record, and yet again, Yukon Blonde are not afraid to explore new uncharted territory with catchy and synth heavy new songs with bangers like opener Too Close To Love to toe tapper and Love The Way You Are.
It’s clear that hits are not lost on them on this record as in addition to the excellent harmony vocals, there are deep plucking basses and fuzzy funk guitars, whereby the significant, but fresh change in the band’s familiar indie rock style becomes apparent. It shows the band is capable of innovating where they draw on sounds like Daft Punk Disco on Cry and the psychedelic pop sound of the Flaming Lips on Painting On A Smile.
It’s not all fun and games for the quintet though. Among the cheery electronica sounds which permeate Critical Hit, there are songs like Summer In July, which sounds immediately to be a carefree song in hindsight instrumentally, but holds an emotional overtone in its lyrics. Lyrics like “All I want to do is cry/I wish I could make you love me” and “you treat me like I’m 6-years-old/All I want to do is die” stand in stark contrast to the upbeat, and bright synth sounds of
And the synth sounds really work across the record from the poppier, brighter sounds on Crazy and peppy, and get-up and go songs like The Bluffs to more subtle, and heavier enveloping synth sounds on Painting on a Smile. Yukon Blonde produces the sounds well however. The sounds don’t distract from the lyrics of the record and are fresh takes as the band adds new sounds it would be most welcome to hear down the line.
Still the band are not afraid to return to older, familiar sounds on Critical Hit where they draw on Beach Boy Pet Sounds era with psychedelic, upbeat sounds and pitch perfect harmonies with their own original twists on the records closer Ritual Off The Docks.
The sounds, which Yukon Blonde continue to use and innovate on with new sounds, have found their way into the bands repertoire easily as the band continues to expand on new, welcome territory and sets sail for poppier sounding shores with astute lyrics which throw an astute, and often sarcastic look at the online dating world.
And, while many bands may now be utilizing the sounds of synthesizers and electronics, it can be a struggle for bands that don’t know how to use them as well. The band have found a nice balance between psychedelic and pop sounds, which they have been drawing off of for years, and is one that keeps finding new, interesting ways to move forward.
It shows that Yukon Blonde are capable of bringing sounds from different eras together into a nice package, and it is hoped the band will continue to deliver on what they have created here, as well as find new ways to use the sounds they have mastered to future records in new and refreshing ways.
Critical Hit is available on iTunes and in stores which was released via Dine Alone Records