Saturday, November 6, 2010
Yazoo and Yaz are actually the same band. They had to use the name Yaz in the U.S. because of copyright issues.
Vincent Clarke of Yazoo was actually one of the founding members of Depeche Mode, but left after their first album and enlisted Moyet to create Yazoo.
After two albums, Clarke and Moyet split. Alison Moyet went on to pursue a solo career. Vince Clarke continued to create other projects/bands, most notably Erasure.
Yazoo - Situation - 7 Inch Yaz Depeche Mode on Mute Records
An epic -- downright metal-sounding, even -- single, Keep out of Reach slots in neatly aside Bad Brains' I Against I in its slightly more mainstream but still pretty strong punch. The title track itself appears in two versions, the main one mixing hints of reggae into the music, but mostly keeping that atmosphere with H.R.'s fine singing voice. Calmer dub beats slot alongside some soaring guitar, especially toward the suddenly all-the-more-anthemic ending, and the whole is a pleasant listen indeed. The second version is explicitly listed a dub take, though most of the echo and treatment is applied to the vocals; aside from extra swirling guitar here and there, the music is pretty well unchanged. "Power of the Trinity," meanwhile, is a fine praisesong for Haile Selassie, shifting between stop-start thrash, warmer reggae grooves, more cascading guitar swells, and some highly wacky humor, H.R. is always the perfect vocalist at any point.
HR - Keep Out Of Reach - CD on SST Records
Huevos means "eggs" in Spanish. It also, slangily, refers to balls. It's clear which connotation the Meat Puppets were alluding to when they named this record. It's as if they traded in their stoner VW bus for a muscle car. To push the metaphor further, it's as if they put away the hallucinogens in favor of Jack Daniels. There are far fewer overtly psychedelic touches on HUEVOS than on previous records. Whereas the group's records used to travel a circuitous path, on HUEVOS, the Puppets stick to the main road.You know you're not listening to your grandfather's Meat Puppets from the opening notes of "Paradise," which bears the unmistakable mechanized churning of MTV-era ZZ Top. The sound is altogether thicker, and the vocals are less from the upper chest than the lower diaphragm. But amid the balls-to-the-wall rockers like "Automatic Mojo" are starbursts of color, most notably "Fruit," with its jiggly beat and sighing backup vocals, and the molten, sublime axe work that decorates "Dry Rain."
Meat Puppets - Huevos - Cassette tape on SST Records