Brilliant New Record from The Yellowjacket Avenger

Gentle Readers, I hope this finds you well. I have spent some time in that awkward state wherein one has something good and difficult to write but cannot begin. The situation circles around and spirals until the task’s difficulty is exaggerated to a degree of magnitude. Fortunately for us all, this is only a blog and I am to be held to the looser standards of the volunteer. This is one of the upsides of being an anonymous blogwriter.

The other and larger upside is that once in a rare while, somebody sends me some music to listen to for free! The Monkey Power Trio do this when they’re not mad at me, and my current Canadian favourite YellowJacket Avenger has been known to do so. Mister Pye, the man behind YJA, recently sent me two new releases, very different from each other, both good, one of which is now on my Big Favourite Records list.

Feelings: The Record is Geoffrey Pye with bassist Chris Pennell and drummer Nathan Elliot Doucet, and it’s a straight-ahead, high-energy bar band rendition of Pye’s angular songs. The record makes me wish I could have seen this trio rock a bar in Halifax – sounds like it would have been a good show. Here’s a couple tracks for your perusal, and you can get your mitts on a copy here.


Jerzy Kosinsky

But it’s not this record that has stalled my ability to express myself in typing – it’s the other.

Double Nature is the best thing I’ve heard yet by YellowJacket Avenger, and I don’t think I’m crazy to call it at least a little transcendent. It’s a record that gets better with each listening, with layer upon layer of great ideas to sift through. I don’t want to sound like a masher, but Pye is a singular artist who seems to inhabit his creations in a way reminiscent of certain other geniuses – Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush. It takes more than just earnesty – it has something to do with mastery of craft – of writing and singing and playing, but also of execution. I think Pye sits among that crowd.

Pye’s inhabited his voice and guitar playing for as long as I’ve known about him, and he’s recorded his share of bitchin tunes. But Double Nature goes somewhere greater, from start to end, in writing and arrangement. It was written on keys, and uses micro-samples of single notes and sounds transposed across a keyboard, and these may account for the new level of detail. The sounds of the record knock me out, and the juxtaposition of them kills. Right from the start – check out the first track, and listen for the way the bits contribute to the whole:


Also really evident here is Pye’s crazy ability to write a bridge. This is a generally unacclaimed art, but when it’s done well, the bridge or break or middle-eight of a song can be like a gift: a free nother song right in the middle of an already killer tune! The Beatles were masters of this, of course – but they were often using actual unfinished tunes. Pye seems to just have a great mind for the potential left turns a song can take – as in this tune, worthy of Ms Bush herself in her heyday:

The Special Fate

or the voice and guitar flourish that pushes this one well over the edge for me:

Brother Sister

Double Nature is a brilliant record – intelligent and heavy. It’s also aimed right at my brain, more than likely the same age as Pye’s, and so ready for the flavours he’s throwing in, most notably from the better side of the 80s. I’ve spent a lot of time playing this record for friends, and that’s the best way to get it. In fact, fuck it, this is what you should do right now: go to Zunior, check out a couple of more samples, and buy a copy. I think this is the best thing happening in Canada right now, and if you couldn’t already tell, I highly recommend it.

YellowJacket Avenger’s online house is here.

[See? This article – at this sitting alone – has taken me about two and a half hours and it’s what? 300 words?! Some records are hard to write about – it took me like two years to get down why I love About to Choke so much. At least it’s done now, and I can get back to posting shit about Sesame Street.]


1 Response to “Brilliant New Record from The Yellowjacket Avenger”

  1. 1 The Oh’s: Top Whatever Pt 5: The Yellow Jacket Avenger « monkey X Trackback on December 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm

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