For all its derision as a musical era of perms, shoulder pads and drum machines, the 80s continues to have cultural relevance with modern bands often diving into its diverse waters to find inspiration for their new direction. If you cast your eyes down today’s Top 40 then the 80s becomes an even more exciting proposition with artists exploring new sounds and techniques – a stark contrast to some of today’s pop stars. The latest group to doff their caps to the decade are Canadians Yukon Blonde, who have produced an album that embraces the style of the 80s, while still sounding fresh in 2015. Opener Confused is screaming out for a Kim Wilde Kids In America mash-up, while Saturday Night would have perfectly soundtracked Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s first dance.
Having been around in several incarnations since 2006, Yukon Blonde’s third full-length record smoothes over some of their rockier inclinations in favour of driving synthesizers and guitar lines that 80’s superstars Hall & Oates would fight you for. Lead singer Jeffrey Innes said the group made a conscious effort to leave any past musical ideas at the door, wiping the slate clean for new influences and suggestions to take root. By stripping back their sound, Yukon Blonde have actually made a record that is bigger and brighter than previous releases – but still maintains some of their rough around the edges appeal.
While their previous tour ended on a slightly fractured note, the group have re-bonded over a love of 80s influences, finding a new spark to build upon. Innes seems to have also rediscovered his love for romance, with songs Make U Mine and I Wanna Be Your Man pledging to crack open the heart of his latest infatuation. It’s not all lyrics about chasing girls around town however, Hannah is a touching song to Vancouver singer and band friend Hannah Georgas – “I’m so glad you’re back at home, I’m so glad you’re having fun” – while You Broke The Law is an anthem dedicated to sticking by your mates through thick and thin.
There’s no denying that it’s an album to reminisce in – fans of Talk Talk and Yes will find plenty here to relight the flames of youth. But the album doesn’t simply dabble in 80s influences for the sake of it. Like the synthesizers that Innes admitted to hoarding before the album process began, they’ve wiped away any cobwebs, plugged them into 2015’s electric grid and given them a new lease of life. With On Blonde, Yukon Blonde have re-energized themselves and expanded their horizons in the process – just in time to soundtrack your summer.
‘On Blonde’ is out now on Dine Alone Records
The full track-listing for ‘On Blonde’ is as follows…