Album Review: YEEVS – How to Harken Back EP

YEEVS – like Yves Saint Laurent right? Who knew that three blokes from Sydney would have such a startling affinity for a famous French designer, so much so that they incorrectly named their band after him? Bradley Cork, Tom Bamford and Sean Lees might look like a couple of normal dudes, but living in Australia’s most expensive city invites some pretty luxurious tastes along with it. Of course these guys are a bunch of bloody fashionistas! It’s written in their DNA! Living in Sydney irrevocably leads to being down with the latest trends! Not that its necessarily reflected in their music – rather, YEEVS look back, and push forward on their debut EP. They defy fads, brush off the popular shit, and form something really incredible.

Tough guitars are tied down to chugging bass lines and hammering drum beats in a brand of Pixies/Superchunk/Archers of Loaf early 90’s rock. The riffs are so thick, they’re like vines that you can swing on. Tarzan ain’t got shit on YEEVS! A song like “Cycle As the Deal Goes Down” is made with gumball-sized levels of jaw-shattering in mind, a piece of thundering rock that is all too easy to grasp onto and squeeze. Listen to that song and feel your neck go rigid in anticipation of headbanging. The veins will pulse and crackle under the pressure, until, during the cymbal-smashing, splintered chorus, it’s all too much. Next thing you know, there’s a mark on your forehead from where you smashed your head into the table beneath you, everyone around has a disappointed look on their face, and you’ve made a right fool of yourself.

But the real stamp of YEEVS that sets them apart is Bradley Cork’s voice. Falling within a similar style to Spookyland’s Marcus Gordon, he rolls between an earnest cry and a belying howl. On  on the rollicking “Novocaine”, which jumps from an almost alt-country twang to a triumphant chorus, Cork is inviting and sits well within the punchy aesthetic of the track. And then just a track later, the cinematic “Thousand Yard Stare”, he rises with the crescendo of his bandmates, pleading desperately and with overt anguish. It’s subtle, but it showcases a band that has a surprising amount of diversity to their style at only the debut EP stage in their careers.

It’s only early days yet, but after witnessing their live shows and thrashing this EP more than a bloke tugging on the ripchord of a lawnmower from the 1830’s, there’s a solid feeling in my lower intestines about this band. YEEVS have got great riffs, an sense of authenticity, and seem to be coming at music from the best possible place. Fantastic EP, decent shredders – congrats YEEVS, you get an early mark from rock ‘n’ roll school.

Grab the EP from YEEVS’ Bandcamp here, and make sure you grab all their previous singles that didn’t make it on there. OR, you could rock up to their EP launch tomorrow night. It’s going down at Banquet, which is part of the World Bar in the Cross. Support comes from Twelve Point Buck and Shaky Handz.

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