Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Japanese Voyeurs - Yolk

This is certainly not a week for the faint-hearted, as Japanese Voyeurs follow up the recent single release of Cry Baby with their new album, Yolk.

Prepare to make the neighbours complain as you crank up the volume and blast out some original but very traditional hard rock - a dozen songs of big riffs, crashing drums and snarling vocals.

It's little wonder that Yolk is claiming its territory in some corners of the online music community - Japanese Voyeurs are hard to ignore, to say the very least. Look out for more single releases in the months to come, as this is one of those albums where any one track could hold its own without the support of its tracklist neighbours.

Yolk - Japanese Voyeurs
High Points

Special mention first for Cry Baby, the recently released single and a fine example of what to expect from Yolk. One of my pet hates in have-a-go rock music is that feeling that everyone is just playing their instrument as fast and as loud as they can. No such criticisms can be levelled against Cry Baby, which balances loud instrumental moments with more restrained sequences to provide real structure to the song - and which lends real emotion to parts of the track, even where there are no vocals.

Cry Baby - Yolk
Get Hole and Feed both demonstrate why a female lead vocalist has always worked so well for this kind of music - the contrast of heavy rock with the occasional stripped-back, voice-centric moment of quietness that just doesn't work when your frontman is, well, a man. Revel in Romily Alice's mature and measured performance; this is no girl playing at boys' games, and woe betide anyone who tries to pigeonhole her by gender.

The Verdict

It goes without saying that this is not an album for fans of easy listening; it is unashamedly rock music, and you'll need to be prepared for that. But it's not 'just noise' by any means, either. We're talking about real songs in the truest tradition of rock, each built around riffs and a balance of instruments and vocals that has almost become a forgotten art in the mainstream charts.

Personally I think Japanese Voyeurs' music begs for a stadium tour. Or ideally, an indoor arena tour. The acoustics would be frankly incredible, every sustained note reverberating around the space. Their upcoming tour, supporting Guns'n'Roses guitarist Slash, might not take in venues of quite that scale, but it comes pretty close. Let's hope Yolk propels them into the arenas they deserve - it certainly proves that they have the requisite sound to hold their own in a space of that size.

Final Score: 82%
Yolk - Japanese Voyeurs

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