I sometimes wonder what happens to bands after fame makes a point of avoiding them. Do they migrate their musical ambitions into session work and wedding bands or do they instead ease themselves into the mediocrity that inevitably accompanies middle age? Perhaps they just hide and wait for the opportunity to launch a surprise attack on our collective ears as Yellow Bentines have done with their mini album “Brass”.
It has indeed been some time since words were written on Yellow Bentines – back in 2008 when their ska flavoured pop was considered to be in the best traditions of intelligent British pop song writing – and they don’t sound like that anymore. In the silence of the meantime, they have acquired a brass band and gone a bit quirky. I should point out that I mean an actual Yorkshire style brass band and not just a horn section so these songs, at the very least, won’t sound like any other Glasgow band.
It could just be the presence of that very brass band but all these songs tend towards the downbeat with Martin Hay’s laconic lead vocals swirling plenty of additional melancholy into the mix. That might not actually sound like a lot of fun but the saving grace for this mini album is the underlying quirkiness that makes you want to listen to the next song. There is, for example, a pseudo rap that gives “In Line” a stylistic kick sideways while “The Descent of Man” is infused with the spirit of post punk intellectualism.
So, while Yellow Bentines aren’t the band they used to be, maturity has at least taken them in an interesting direction.