Continuing February's phenomenal output from the world of underground musical artists, Ireland's Yenkee has followed on from the exceptional success of 2019's 'Cannibal Tree' with new single 'Lucy', a track that well surpasses his previous EP in lyrical creativity and imaginative instrumentation to craft one of the best songs so far released in 2020.
'Lucy' demonstrates Yenkee (Graham Cooney) as a young artist determined not to do things the tried-and-tested way. The Cork native cracks open the tune with a vocal riff sandwiched in between comfortable octave harmonies and a pleasing guitar tone, rolled down and compressed into a haze of Nile Rodgers-y-funkiness. The tune slides effortlessly into a tight groove, complimented by perfectly crafted vocal melodies and a satisfyingly expansive keys contribution from Nathanael Laffan. The bassline hits an ideal balance, playing around with pleasing fills while still keeping itself reserved in the background of this excellent song. Perhaps Yenkee could have stepped forward a little more once or twice on the track for a nice lick as hinted from [2:16-2:35] but what 'Lucy' does absolutely provide is a clear demonstration of Yenkee's multi-instrumental talents.
Yenkee's melodies house some particularly compelling lyrical invention. The whole song shimmers in familiarity with the sound of Ruban Nielson's Unknown Mortal Orchestra, with 'Lucy' bearing particular similarity in the sound of Cooney's voice, but with 'Lucy' I think Yenkee has UMO lyrically beaten. I can listen to 'So Good At Being In Trouble' if I want, but would Nielson ever put lyrics as gorgeously specific as "surrounded by rhododendron" in his songwriting? No, but Yenkee did. 'Lucy' benefits greatly from the warmly inviting vocal tone that Cooney blesses it with, and when a gorgeously gravelly voice is paired with well-thought and creative lyricism it makes for a great tune.
The UMO comparison I think is a fair one, with Nielson and Cooney sharing a desire to avoid using boring and easily constructed chord sequences, but 'Lucy' is no Unknown Mortal Imitator. This is a wonderful little song that, despite sharing a few similarities with the New Zealand rockers, is absolutely a unique and fresh sound from beyond the Irish Sea. Both UMO's 'From The Sun' and 'Lucy' do hold a similar desire to surprise their listeners with unexpected chordal directions but this is an *excellent* similarity to have with one of the most interesting bands in the world of psych-rock. Yenkee's chords are gorgeously chosen, and clearly picked with a particular desire to set himself apart from the crowded field of Eire/UK indie music. 'Lucy' feels like a song that was laboured over to sound fresh and unique and it works so very well.
Listen to Yenkee, you need to.
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Catch Yenkee FOR FREE at London's Sebright Arms on the 2nd April. TICKETS.
Follow them on instagram and find 'Lucy'
Ben Wheadon is editor and founder of Slow Motion Panic Masters. He is a Welsh musician and English Literature student at King's College, London and he should be writing a dissertation instead of creating a blog.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in London, England.