Wednesday 29 February 2012

Yeti Lane - The Echo Show

Album review by KevW

The 2010 debut album from Parisian psych-pop duo Yeti Lane was pleasant enough, but aside from insanely loveable single 'Lonesome George', none of it really stuck. It seemed a tad threadbare, like a batch of demos that were awaiting a sprinkling of gold dust to fully show their potential. There was promise there but whether or not it would ever be fully realised was difficult to predict. Fast forward a couple of years and Ben Pleng and Charlie Boyer have another crack at drawing us into their world with kaleidoscopic follow-up 'The Echo Show'.

From the opening glitches and swirls of 'Analogue Wheel' it becomes evident that we could be witnessing a great leap forward. Deeper electronic textures, a propelling motorik beat and sweeping vocal whooshes. By the time the track's reached it euphoric climax of shimmering guitars you're hooked. It's like Andrew Weatherall remixing Neu! covering The Beatles' 'Dear Prudence'. Hammering straight into the reverb soaked title track proves it's no one-off either. Many have dabbled with a Krautrock/psychedelia/shoegaze hybrid recently but Yeti Lane's version is more buoyant; still a lush wall of sound, only lighter, more airy. 'Warning Sensations' might as well have teleported itself in from Grandaddy's 'The Sophtware Slump', on which it would have been a highlight.

The fundamental reason why this album succeeds on such a grand scale is pretty basic. Strip the layers away and buried beneath are pure tunes. It's not that they've remade their debut with denser electronics and more attention to detail, it's that they've pushed their limits in terms of songwriting. Play 'Alba' or 'Dead Tired' on a just battered acoustic guitar and still they'd shine. Coat them in rich sheets of glides and chimes and they become breathtaking, but not once are things taken too far. There are no attempts at directionless washes of ambient sound; this is pop, Jim, but not as we know it.

'The Echo Show' is a fitting title for this record. Not because it harks back to their debut, yielding diminishing returns, but because it hand-picks traces of sounds from the past and neatly combines their best bits. Retro analogue electronics, the past twenty years of dreampop and the aforementioned 'The Sophtware Slump' are all clear touchstones, but they've pushed themselves, superseded their past recordings and most of their peers while they're at it. In carefully choosing elements of classics gone by, Yeti Lane have crafted a classic of their very own. Consider the ante well and truly upped.

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