YELLOW JUMPS TWICE - "STOP TREATIN' THE BEATEN WAYS" (Reviewby Marty LoFaso)
After a prolific output including a dozen albums, it’s clear that Hamburg’s Yellow Jumps Twice has found their collective groove. The Psychedelic Brit Rock band has a new one on their hands, entitled Stop Treatin The Beaten Ways. As they approach their 20th anniversary, this solid release shows that the trio has been able to meld a unique identity in their time together. "Stop Treating The Beaten Ways" The album begins with the title track, a fun rocker with excellent dynamic contrast. Contrasting sections turn out to be a theme as the song progresses, with the major chorus and minor post-chorus offsetting each other nicely. The lyrics mix with the music to create an optimistic feeling, with both elements playing off of each other to create the mood. While the lyrics are a little wordy, the listener can easily grasp the message of the song, which also features a middle eight section that diverges well from the main song. Again this shows a theme of contrast within the music that may even cause an elitist trendetarian to raise their brow. Next up is the album’s lead single, “Every Single Day”, another fun rocker that begins with a jangly guitar a la The Byrds, with rhythmic delay a la The Edge. The band experiments with timing/rhythmic changes as the tune unfolds, and while initially jarring, the experimentation is ultimately rewarding for the listener. The lyrics in the chorus ask questions as opposed to making statements, which is always a great technique for providing a listener with an introspective experience. “Every Single Day” continues their trend of music and lyrics intertwining to create the overall mood. “This Is Me”, a harder rock tune, barrels into the listener’s ear with a great minor guitar riff, switching things up from the strumming harmony of the previous songs. More introspective chorus lyrics provide the listener with an open-ended experience, but the guitar solo may slightly distract from the overall vibe of the rest of the song, rather than complement it. The song ends strong on a powerful outro. A rugged and catchy tune, “Not My Kinda Talk” oscillates between straight hits and a syncopated groove. After exploring this push/pull, the chorus deploys some well-timed dissonance, giving the listener’s ear a break from the more consonant harmony up until this point. The deviation in harmony complements the ominous vibe of the song. “Feel Alright” provides great tension and release in the music. The guitar solo explores a Middle Eastern feel, and it allows for a great contrast from the rest of the song. While stylistically appropriate, the vocals sometimes sound strained, giving the feeling that the singer is going slightly beyond his range. It’s encouraging to hear musicians challenging themselves, especially musicians who have been in the industry for some time. “Over Again” employs a great Bo Diddley/George Thorogood beat. Vibrato-laden guitar adds a creepy element to the song that accompanies the feeling well. “Gotta Let Me Go” incorporates horns that push the song through to a huge arrival point at the chorus. The arranging and instrumentation of the song are excellent, different than the rest of the record without veering too far away.The album ends on “Strange Days”, a haunting, epic ballad. The bass melody drives the song, with the rest of the instrumentation slowly joining the rhythm section to build into a long, emotional jam providing a powerful finish to the record. The band is truly refining and honing their craft, proving why they’ve been around for almost 20 years and why they’re still going strong after a dozen albums.