This time they discarded their suitcase of gear and improvised, building their sound up from scratch, and the result is a record that is rougher, dirtier and darker than its predecessor. It also finds them singing in their native French for the first time; the title, which translates as ‘the dawn’, is almost literal.
Yeti Lane were formed from the ashes of underrated psych-folk-prog outfit Cyann & Ben in 2009 and their self-titled debut album followed the next year to great acclaim, but its release was followed by the departure of founding member LoAc Carron. Undaunted, the remaining duo of Cédric Benyoucef (vocals, guitar) and Charlie Boyer (drums, electronics) came back two years later with ‘The Echo Show’, which combined Kraftwerk with LCD Soundsystem and My Bloody Valentine to incredible effect, resulting in more glowing reviews, BBC 6 Music sessions and memorable live shows, including Liverpool Psych Fest, supporting The Brian Jonestown Massacre and backing Can legend Damo Suzuki.
It was these last two connections that pointed the way to the new album: the shows with Suzuki were completely improvised and then Cédric and Charlie travelled to Berlin for some freeform (and still unreleased) sessions with BJM mainman Anton Newcombe and Primal Scream guitarist ‘Little’ Barrie Cadogan.
“We’ve always considered each album in response to the previous one, we try to never repeat the same things, the same gimmicks,” explains Charlie of the duo’s new methods. “We needed to forget our habits, to clean our minds in order to find new directions. We had a lot of fun improvising, which opened us to new playgrounds.” As is clear from the first sight of the stunning, acid-bright artwork by London-based design studio Heretic, ‘L’Aurore’ was created with the same new-found freedom. “We wanted to keep the excitement of the moment, with no routine,” says Cédric. “Everything was recorded as we were playing, just the two of us in the same room. We chose takes in which we felt something was happening, rather than the ones in which we were playing perfectly; we kept the mistakes.”
On ‘Exquis’ and ‘Ne Dis Rien’ you can hear the ideas forming and shape-shifting; elemental titles such as ‘Liquide’ and ‘Crystal Sky’ are a giveaway, too. But this is definitely not a self-indulgent record, especially when there are tunes as good as ‘Acide Amer’, ‘Good Word’s Gone’ and the title track. The duo’s core influences remain the same – 13th Floor Elevators, Neil Young, The Flaming Lips, Spacemen 3 – but it was their rediscovery of the French scene of the late ’60s and early ’70s that inspired Cédric to try writing the lyrics in French. (He cites a number of artists from the Saravah label, such as Brigitte Fontaine, Higelin and Areski, as well as ‘Obsolete’, Dashiell Hedayat’s largely improvised record made with Gong.) But, perhaps the biggest influence on the band has been simply the world around them.
“These past two years, especially 2015, were dark to us on many levels,” says Charlie. “I think it was this darkness that influenced the writing and the sound a lot more than bands or movies.” The result? ‘L’Aurore’: the first light from a new Yeti Lane.
2. Good Word’s Gone
3. Acide Amer
6. Crystal Sky
8. Ne Dis Rien
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