Friday, April 4, 2008

Reviews:: Yellow Jacket Avenger - Double Nature

A while ago I read an article in The Coast about Halifax's Yellow Jacket Avenger, aka Geoffrey Pye, and thought "this is an an interesting fellow, make mental note to check him out further". But like so many of my mental notes ("learn Flemish", "learn to play the Theramin", "further explore the films of portly martial arts expert Sammo Hung"), it got lost for awhile in the many crevices of my brain. Luckily, Paul from Wolves, Hawks and Kites mentioned him recently and that jogged my memory.

Originally from Ottawa, the man known affectionately as "Pye" (I actually don't if he's known as this, simply a guess), has been in Halifax for six years, and his musically heroic alter-ego has been active on and off throughout that time (as has been the case for the decade and a half or so he's been recording under the alias). Like many a superhero before him, the Avenger is often a lone wolf, eschewing grandiose touring schedules for the occasional Halifax performance and preferring to bypass the studio for the therapeutic effects of home recording. But that isn't to say he always rolls solo, as the Pye-led YJA Trio also features JP Emergency bassist Chris Pennell and Nathan Doucet on drums.

Recent bouts of Avenger activity have resulted in his new solo album, Double Nature, a unique and tremendously enjoyable listen you can procure for yourself right now at Zunior. I don't know how best to describe the album. I thought something like "indie easy listening" might work, but that conjures up horrible Manilow-esque connotations. Quite simply, this album makes my brain feel good when I listen to it. Musically, it reminds me of Broken Social Scene, with a reliance on peppy percussion of various types, augmented by plenty of other instruments. Synth sounds are found on most songs and electric guitar (Brother, Sister), cello (The Special Fate), and banjo (Seeds) are but a few of the other instruments used to great effect.

Vocally, Pye has a style that projects an understated confidence. He's been at this a long time, and doesn't feel the need to overdo things. The lyrics on Double Nature, are kind of esoteric, leaving interpretations open to the listener. Like on Sam, he sings "we got busted, it was un-expected, I took the fall, right into the arms of the law". I have no idea what the context of that line is, but it doesn't much matter to me. These songs are so lovely that I don't mind letting my mind weave in and around the imagery the lyrics create.

In case my gibber up until now hasn't made it clear, I'm a big fan of this album. Undercover, Brother, Sister, Seeds, the sparse Emergency, and the Zunior-version bonus track Hiding Out are some of my highlights, but you'll have no problem listening from start to finish. I kick myself now for waiting so long to give the Avenger some coverage here on the hill, especially now that I hear he's moving to Quebec in the near future. Oh well, I'll still have this album to enjoy I suppose (the YJA Trio's new album is also available from the Avenger's website I believe), and if you happen to be in Halifax you can catch the YJA Trio tonight at the Seahorse with Down With The Butterfly and The True Love Rules (songs by the JP Emergency's Dave Marsh). Sounds good to me.

myspace :: web :: buy it

Posted at 10:44 AM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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At 10:18 AM, Blogger The R.O.B. did sayeth:

I think I did the exact same thing when Paul recommended it, and this jogged my memory.


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