Sound: I will try and get all of the Libertines associations out of the way in this first paragraph. Yes this is the new band of John Hassall, formerly in The Libertines. No this is not his own take on 'Up the Bracket'. Yes Pete and Carl did miss out by not having him to sing or write lyrics on either of The Libertines' albums. And yes there is an early Libertines demo that has found it's way onto the album. In the four years that they have existed Yeti have managed to, released two storming Beatles-esque singles, one essential EP, record hundreds of demos and then they managed to almost drop off the face of the musical world. But finally the long awaited album 'The Legend of Yeti Gonzales' has arrived. The first thing you will notice when you glance at the track list is that Yeti have overlooked several of their most popular songs for example the band's second single 'Keep Pushin' On', fans favourite 'Up And Down' and the delightful 'Insect Eating Man' failed to make it onto the debut.
Previously released songs 'Never Lose Your Sense Of Wonder', 'Merry Go Round', 'Midnight Flight', 'Last Time You Go' and 'In Like With You' have been re-recorded, each of them has been slowed down considerably which in the case of 'In Like With You', it has truly benefited the track and the new production has added a completely new depth to the song giving it a live feel. But this cannot be said for the other re-recorded tracks which have all lost some of their original charm; this is particularly evident on the La's sounding 'Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder', which in honesty was not in any need of re-recording at all. On the other hand there are some joyous moments on this debut, this is demonstrated on the brilliant new single 'Don't Go Back To The One You Love' which is a psychedelic beast of a song with a sound only Yeti can capture. The dynamics and structure are so very bizarre and vastly distant from anything the band had done in the past. The album's hidden gem is bonus track 'Who Is Gonzales', surely Yeti are the only band who can get away with writing such a ridiculous and yet incredibly well written song about Star Wars. This song shows the of whole essence of Yeti's sound, as well as having some touching and beautiful tracks they also have some down right fun songs, another one of these is a tribute song to Shane McGowan, fittingly named 'Shane McGowan' which is a short blast of country music that you can't help tap along to.
'Sister Sister' is the only connection that John has with his former band on this record; any Libertine fan knows that this song is part of the iconic 'Legs 11' sessions and the only song John ever sang for the band. As with the other re-recorded songs it has been slowed down but this one still has the same magic as the original and Yeti have even gone as far as plonking a great big Trumpet solo in the middle. However due to the absence of some of Yeti's best songs, as well scrappy production in places, it fails to be as great as it had the potential to be. On whole the sound is very reminiscent The Beatles/The Kinks/The La's with an element of something new, something distinctly Yeti. // 7
Lyrics: Yeti have three lyricists each with very different styles. John Hassall, the most famous of the lyricists, makes his obsession for The Beatles apparent, his songs tend to be the more catchy one on the album, the real stand out track being 'Never Lose Your Sense Of Wonder' a biographical track which, would you believe was first released as a single way back in 2005. it's upbeat lyrics 'Never lose your sense of wonder, even if you lose all else' sparkle along atop of a La's sounding melody. Marc Underwood is the wittiest and cleverest lyricist in the band, his portfolio from previous releases features a hilarious song all about eating insects (a song unfortunately not on this album), and this album takes his suburb and funny lyrics to a new level. The best example of his song writing skill is heard on the sinister track 'Midnight Flight', a song based around the unstable mind of a mass murderer it's creepy lyrics lodge themselves into your head 'There is to many voices living in my head, and when I go to sleep at night they stay awake instead, they make me take a walk in the middle of the night, and I slice people dice people on my midnight flight'. On a slightly lighter note, Underwood also wrote the sublime bonus track 'Who Is Gonzales' which is an entertaining ode to the Star Wars films. Underwood can proudly say that he is the first person to make Star Wars cool! Andrew Cannes, has the fewest songs on the album, however he did pen one of the albums lyrical and musical high points in 'Don't Go Back to the One You Love', which depicts a tale of an outlaw on the run from the cops it features some of the best and most exciting on the album, 'Turn the lights down, shut the window, burn your old clothes, don't use the telephone, steal the next car drive to Mexico'. Each member brings different elements and influences to the band, and many of the songs act out a story unlike a lot of modern bands, this is what makes Yeti such a lyrically interesting and exciting band. // 9
Overall Impression: If you are already aware of Yeti I won't kid you, it is nowhere near as catchy as Japanese released compilation album 'Yume' whether that is a good thing or not is down to personal opinion as this is more of a concept album. However this is a must buy album for anyone who's partial to a bit of '60s pop, but a warning to any Libertines fans, this album is nothing like what you would expect from a former member of a garage rock band, be ready for some delicate pop tunes, mind boggling harmonies and most importantly be ready for some serious foot tapping. // 7