Recording information: The Hive Studios, Vancouver Island, BC (2014).
Vancouver-based Yukon Blonde had already demonstrated their way with a catchy chorus and driving, guitar-based indie rock. With an added slathering of synths, their flair and infectiousness are dialed up a notch on the vibrant On Blonde. Gleaming synthesizers announce their presence from the opening, dance-inducing beat of the record on the love-addled "Confused," with its '60s harmonized pop underbelly, warbling spaceship noises, and rhyming ee-ooh-ee-ooh-ee-oohs. The synth pop goes full old-school new wave on the growling "Starvation" and uptempo but longing "Saturday Night" ("Let me dive in the waters around/Your eyes are an ocean"). With lyrics that are largely inveigling or struggling with romantic quests, there's a yearning seduction to On Blonde that hits all cylinders on the fuzzy glam bomb "I Wanna Be Your Man" and infuses the slinky "Make U Mine" and "Jezebel" ("I got my teeth clenched as tight as can be/And my eyelids afraid to sleep/I'm all alone now/It's hard to breathe because of you, love"). Less sultry and more explosive, the churning rhythm section, galloping guitar lines, and screwy keyboard sounds of the brightly melodic "Favourite People" deliver an energetic fun-packet ripe for a montage sequence in an indie film ("I wanna go down and see my favourite people/I wanna go home and see my only friends"). Meanwhile, the psychedelic "Hannah" offers the album's most harmonious vocals and a two-in-one structure that busts open in the middle, much like the song does to the album midway through the sequencing. All told, on top of Yukon Blonde's engaging songwriting, production by Tiger Talk's Colin Stewart and mixing by Tony Hoffer (OK Go, Depeche Mode, the Kooks) combine for a winning dose of sensual, high-octane, synth-psych indie grub. ~ Marcy Donelson