“ Original Release Date: 19 Jan 2009 / Label: Static Caravan / Total Length: 34:53 „
Colour me happy
If you've never heard of The Yellow Moon Band, don't worry. Most people haven't. But you're missing out of one of Britain's best progressive/ folk rock instrumentalists. Does folk rock this mean banjos and cleft palates? Nope. You don't even need a purdy mouth. Just a pair of ears to listen with.
The Yellow Moon Band are a quartet. One drummer and three guitarists. They all lend a little vocals, and I do mean a little. 99.9% of the album is instrumental heaven. If you think this equates to boring, think again. The tracks are full of interlacing harmonies. Electric, acoustic and percussive. And each one is neatly distinct from the others.
If you are still struggling to classify them, think less Stevie Ray Vaughan and more early Fleetwood Mac, or early Genesis or Pink Floyd.
Tofu on the bone
There are eight tracks on the album with a run-time of about 37 minutes. I have listened to the whole thing while driving, and enjoyed it from beginning to end. There are a few stand-out favourites of mine, but it's all good.
A gentle acoustic start to the album leads into head nodding along to an accompanying chant. If you want to de-stress to something that's not slow, but not overpowering, this will do it.
Possibly my favourite track. It begins with (and returns to) an intricate Guitar riff played high on the fretboard. With a great solo later on in the piece and a few actual words, this is great stuff.
Here's where you can clearly hear that the band doesn't just have one great guitarist. This is their version closest to duelling banjos, with real joy and precision coming out of those strings. Folk me, it's good!
Representing the most traditionally accessible track on the album, the driving aggressive lines are pure rock. Many point to this as the best track, but to me it suffers by losing some of the band's uniqueness and ends up feeling like one extended solo.
Again, a great piece of guitar work. But it doesn't feel as infectious as other tracks. But there's no way this can be termed as a duff track. Only by virtue of the bar being so high in the first place, does this one suffer by comparison.
Running over seven minutes, this feels like a journey. As though someone is telling you something of great importance that you don't quite understand, but feel reassured afterwards. For those of you who saw the episode of American Dad where Stan trips out to My Morning Jacket, it's like that. Truly cosmic, man.
Back into mostly acoustic territory, this track feels familiar. Perhaps a little too much so. Still enjoyable, but after Domini, it seems almost bland.
The album finishes not on a ballad, but a hard driving jam session. A perfect, if unexpected way to end.
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World is a great album. Is it all a little hippyish? Yes, it is. But not in a late-John Lennon-insufferably-patronising-git kind of way, in a music-is-love kind of way. Even the album sleeve is printed cardboard.
But here's the big question. Can The Yellow Moon Band have a career making instrumental albums? To quote Topol at the end of Flash Gordon; "I don't know. But it will be fun finding out."
The Yellow Moon Band are Jo Bartlett, Danny Hagan, Rudy Carroll and Mathew Priest.
The album can be bought for £7.12 on Amazon, and does it's best not to harm the environment.