Yoko And the Oh No’s
Yoko And the Oh No’s
Autumn Tone Records
Release date: October 30, 2015
Since the time that the second song was written musicians have been borrowing ideas and sounds from those that came before them. The good ones are able to capture something from their musical ancestors but build upon it to create their addition to the history of audible art. Yoko And the Oh No’s self-titled debut will bring to mind the Velvet Underground (to the point of referencing the seminal New York alt-rock icons in the song “Nobody Wants to Know”) and the Strokes. Those readers of the more indie persuasion might sit this album on your shelf right next to The Librarians or The Paranoids. While shining their influences like a flashing neon sign, Yoko And the Oh No’s has enough to offer to be more than just a clone of their favorite bands.
The Chicago trio, featuring not one, but two dudes named Max, open strong with “She Knows It,” a track that has style and groove. The poppy, mid-tempo rock obviously has a 1970s flavor, but it also has enough muscle and drive to push it into the now. The same can be said of the previously mentioned “Nobody Needs to Know” and the rocking “Little Girl.” These songs are energetic and immediately make me want to get involved in whatever it is that’s turned the band electric. The problem arises when that energy isn’t consistent. “Heart Attack” and “In Pieces” meander on without going anywhere, or evoking any kind of emotion that keeps me from checking out. “Movin’ Out” starts subdued, but ramps up into a killer chorus that’s pure rock n’ roll, showing a balance between songs that are all high energy, or more of a one-note affair.
The bottom line is that when Yoko And the Oh No’s bring energy into their songs the result is brilliant. While this may seem like a mixed review, the fact is that the band’s high points are much more prevalent than the few dull moments on this release. Overall, Yoko And the Oh No’s have made an album they can be proud of, and one I enjoy listening to. Rarely do I wish an album was shorter, but I would love to hear an EP of this band at full energy and full volume. Yoko And the Oh No’s bring me back to the roots of alt rock, and a time when rock was the operative word. There will never be another Velvet Underground, but thanks be to the rock gods that I can get my fix from Yoko And the Oh No’s.
Reviewed by Jim 1340