Although Great Ytene might not be quite a household name in alternative rock they are far from new comers, the band’s first incarnation as Colours may jog the memory of some and their shoegaze-tinged early outputs as Great Ytene where strong enough to catch the attention of Simon Raymonde and warrant a release on Bella Union. Singer and guitarist Leon Diaper is also the founder of Marshall Teller Records, the award-winning independent record label which has brought out releases from the likes of the Vaccines, Cheatahs and the History of Apple Pie.
Since the release of their self titled debut EP in 2014, Great Ytene have recorded and lost an entire album due to “a technological worm hole”. In the modern world of quick successions which demands instant content especially within music, the band went against the grain and decided to go back to the drawing board, taking their time to craft and record their debut full length release Locus.
Recorded with Bella Union’s go to sound guru Iggy B and mixed by Hookworms frontman MJ at his Suburban Home Studio, the band have clearly been thoughtful in their choice of outside influence, the footprints of both can certainly be heard on the album but, on what could have been a heavily manipulated output, it is certainly the quality of the songs which stand out to band’s own merit.
Noticeably more anxious and darker than the bands previous dreamy atmospheric sound, opening track ‘Mono Aware’ quickly evolves from a pulsating drone to a rapture of drum rolls and noise with Diapers calls of “it’s lost” repeating to its chaotic climax. Leaving almost no time to catch your breath second track ‘Georges Street’ chops between different rhythms and chiming guitars held together by bass grooves before imploding into guitar splutters.
The album draws from a number of influences and genres but creates a delicate balance that fashions a distinctive and individual style full of imagery and sonic excitement. Diaper creates simple, repetitive and beautiful melodies veiled behind distortion and effects while dueling, urgent guitars blending between sporadic and syncopation convene with a thunderous rhythm section of slow driving slick bass and drums which bounce between tribal hypnotic and out of control.
Closing number ‘Appetite’ begins with characteristic momentum alongside slur’s of “how many times have we been through this” before cries of “oh why” lead into a slow break down, and ultimately a misleading crescendo, a cliff hanger off an ending making you realise you want more.
The album requires concentration but rewards with layers of detail, Locus sits together as a well structured cohesive body of work, and the thoughtfulness and time taken in its creation are apparent. It conjures together the tensions and pace of modern life but offers originality and intricacies often missing by many playing on these themes, boldly bonding together the excitement of a debut album and the caution and craftsmanship of experience.
Locus is released via Faux Discx on Feburary 17th, Watch the video for single Locus Below.
You can also catch Great Ytene live at the Lexington on Friday the 17th of February to finally celebrate the album’s release before they head out on tour through April.