The Blind Shake are a power-garage trio from Minneapolis. They play highly synchronized, precision rock with guitar, tenor guitar, and drums. Michael Yonkers is a noise-guitar pioneer, having finally gained recognition when Destijl and, consequently, Sub Pop released the 1968 recorded, but never released, Microminiature Love in 2003.
The record starts with haunting, dark, and heavy guitars and Yonkers warbly croon warning, Dont ever say that I didnt try to help you. Its a blend somewhere between noisy post-punk and psychedelic garage, with a heavy tone that supersedes the repetitive music. The Blind Shake tend to offer incredibly succinct powerful tunes, and with Yonkers at the helm, theyve added a darker tone, increased the feedback, and increased the noise elements. At the core, this is still The Blind Shake-styled, precisely timed, three-piece garage. It just has even more oomph than the band usually brings to the table, and the band musters a more full sound than they have on previous releases. Yonkers is a front man, whereas their regular vocalist, Jim Blaha, is a guitar player who happens to sing.
Yonkers sits out side two, technically making it a split between Michael Yonkers with The Blind Shake (who have released one previous record together) and The Blind Shake (who have two releases on their own). When Blaha takes over vocals, the tone changes from haunting to forceful, and the band throws in a couple of instrumental noise pieces like Radon Detector. One wouldnt expect much dichotomy between the two sides, but the difference in vocal styles really comes across when Yonkers takes a seat.
I really cant say enough about how much I enjoy The Blind Shake, and adding Yonkers influence to the album only improves the overall sound, as well as provides a little more variety in sound than The Blind Shake tend to employ on their own. His vocal nuances are a fitting addition and its too bad that Yonkers health has forced a recent retirement from the stage. From start to finish, Cold Town/Soft Zodiac is enjoyable and to the point as only one song tops three minutes.
9.0 / 10
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