East Coast Yetis’ self-titled debut offers a solid introduction and hints at good things to come.
Upon first listen, the debut release from Fredericton duo East Coast Yetis (Richie Young and Glen Love) sounds like a collection of generic classic rock songs. The forms are simple, familiar and for the most part, they’re generally quite predictable. But after a second and third listen, this ten song collection begins to reveal its subtleties. And when examined within the context of bluesman Richie Young’s recorded output to date, East Coast Yetis (the group and the album) become an interesting study in the evolution of this New Brunswick performer.
First off, this is a debut album. That’s important to remember. While Young has amassed quite a catalogue of recorded music over the past few years as both a solo artist and a member of The Crossroad Devils, this project is still in its infancy, comparatively. East Coast Yetis, like most debut albums, has its strengths and weaknesses, its high points and its low points.
A few surface-level criticisms could easily be directed towards the programmed (?) drums that do little to support these songs beyond providing a steady tempo (although Young has adopted a kick and snare setup for live performances), or the occasional minor tuning issues that pop up throughout the album, one of the most common characteristics found on home recorded music. A couple of songs even seem to recycle the same introductory riff, briefly. And who even knows what the cover art is about? But again, this is a debut album from a very new band.
This album’s weaknesses are balanced equally by its strengths. East Coast Yetis provides Young a new platform for exploring his songwriting, one that steps slightly away from the blues-heavy direction that has guided his output to date. Songs like Ask Louise and Maurader, a track that benefits greatly from Patrick Gushie’s fiddle accompaniment, are two of Young’s strongest songs to date. Ask Louise is one of Young’s most groove-oriented songs thanks to its rich bass line, while Maurader hits home with its perfect pairing of chorus and overall tonal quality. Daytime Rambler, the opening track from Young’s last solo album, gets a slight makeover here as well with Love’s guitar work adding some new energy.
Glen Love is the other half of this duo. With few exceptions, his proven ability and obvious love for classic rock guitar soloing provide a near steady backdrop to the familiarity of Young’s song structures. While his soloing does become a predictable part of nearly every track on this album, Love is able to introduce a few new tones and textures that help break from the expected. The introduction to Jack and Jill’s Pills and the album’s closer, Thousand Degree Fever are fine examples of this.
While the group have yet to hone their craft on local stages, they have shared a live performance video that hints at their ability to bring these songs to life. When the COVID19 cloud finally settles, East Coast Yetis will certainly be a band worth checking out. In the meantime, give this album a few solid listens and consider picking up a copy for $7.