Review: Yellow Moon Band, Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World
The Yellow Moon Band is a quartet that plays . . . music. People seem to be having a hard time figuring out just what kind of music they play. “Entangled”, one of the tracks from Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World, appears on the A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind compilation which has led some to categorize their music as psychedelic prog. However, “Entangled” also appears on Fred Deakin’s (one half of the electronic music duo Lemon Jelly) Nu Balearica collection which has led allmusic.com to label the Yellow Moon Band as an electronica group. Others have labeled them as folk, funky or groovy.
Ok, so the listeners are having a hard time figuring it out. What does the CD say? Nothing. The disk I received came in a fold-over cardboard holder with a sleeve for the CD in one side and a sleeve for the pamphlet in the other. Got the CD but didn’t get a pamphlet and the cardboard sleeve has no info about the band or the music whatsoever other than that the band wrote the music.
So what kind of music do they play? For starters, Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World is almost entirely instrumental. There are a couple of vocals but they are not what the music is about. The band sounds like two guitars, bass and drums (allmusic is completely off the mark labeling this as electronica).
As I listened to Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World again and again I was overwhelmed with the feeling that it was really reminding me of something but I couldn’t quite place it. Then I had it. The Yellow Moon Band reminds me of the original Allman Brothers without Duane Allman, without the orientation toward blues rock, and without the jamming. wtf? You take all that away and what’s left?
A lot when you think about it. Duane Allman was such a brilliant and unique guitar player (when he was on) that no one, not even the Allmans without him, sound like the Allmans with him so the Yellow Moon Band is like every other band in the world in this regard.
What about the blues rock thing? The Allmans often used blues rock structures to bookend their jams but once they cut loose the music went where it went without regard to genre conventions or limitations. Remember these were the guys who turned Donovan’s “There is a Mountain” into a 20 minute masterwork. Losing the blues rock increases the similarity between the Yellow Moon Band and the Allmans as often as not.
Losing the jamming may be a problem. The Allmans’ improvisational jams were often superb. The Yellow Moon Band may be able to jam like that as well but the evidence isn’t on Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. Instead what we have are tight, focused full band work outs that sound like they may have begun as jams which were then then practiced, tightened up, and refined. Pure meat, no fat.
The end result is a CD filled with tight, muscular guitar led instrumentals. There is a clear influence of late ’60s – early ’70s psychedelic music but the Yellow Moon Band never come across as imitating someone else. They are their own band and they’re outstanding. Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World is one of the best CDs I’ve heard this year and is very strongly recommended if you like first-rate guitar-driven rock.
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