Sunday, 20 May 2018

EP: Classic Yellow - Ophelia

Classic Yellow - Ophelia
Photo: Lisa Rogers (minus Ciarán Traynor!)

Info: Classic Yellow are a four-piece alternative-rock band with, well, a bone fide classic old-school sound running through everything on debut EP Ophelia. As someone who was went on a decade-long journey (and still is) from early 1960's pop-rock á la Rubber Soul, to 60's psych nuggets, garage rock of The Monks, balls-out rock of Sticky Fingers and I-IV and finally blues-rock and prog-rock (King Crimson, Alan Parsons Project), I can hear bits of everything and more across these four tracks. I mention all of this because the appeal is inevitably massive to me personally as a result.

Opener 'Biscuits' is a smooth and gloriously flirtatious piece of late 60's English blues-rock, bitta John Mayall, a lot of Johnny Winter, yes sir, I am loving this instrumental mardi gras, and the guitar-playing is perfection with a solid rhythm section trundling at high-tempo towards the finish line. The final 60 seconds are also quite Floydian.

Classic Yellow pull back a bit on the title-track, 'Ophelia', and it certainly jumps right up to a more modern sound, think The Walkmen's Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone (2002) or pretty much anything from The Radio Dept., shorn of the extra instrumentation. It's a dreamy and meandering 5 minute plus number, and that mood and feeling carries it along with ease, it passes quicker than you'd expect because you are transfixed on the hazy care-free attitude on display.

'Magic Maker' is great, it's straight up in your face, and vocally it has that archetypal 60's psych quality, quivering in the distance but distinct. The break bang on the middle point of the track sees the stage suddenly disappear from underneath the band as they fall into a trippy Yellow Submarine / LSD-induced wormhole.

Ophelia wraps up with 'Ghosts' and we return to the expansive free-form guitar-rock of its opener, this is trippy AF. I'm arguing with myself, do I hear a studio version of a lo-fi Tame Impala track, or something else? I think it's something else, and that something else is Classic Yellow. What's evident across the entirety of the EP is that the band don't do formulaic, they don't sick to convention and follow the verse-chorus-verse, 'it should sound like this here' rules, they let it ride, and it sounds just wonderful. I hate being parochial, but I'm a little bit proud these guys are from Dublin (you should also listen to their debut Double A-Side 'His Master's Voice' / 'Cheese From Wisconsin')

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