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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Darrin Frew » Music » Stephen Yerkey - Metaneonatureboy

There's no shame in not having previously heard of Stephen Yerkey. You don't get much more off the music scene radar than working, as Yerkey does, in a juvenile security facility. On top of that it’s taken him 12 years to follow up his debut album 'Confidence, Man' released way back in 1994. No, the real shame would be, having been tipped off as to his existence, not to give this album the chance it deserves to impress you.

Aided by Eric Drew Feldman on production duties (PJ Harvey, Frank Black) Yerkey peddles the sort of jazzy/honky-tonky/bluesy hybrid that a more straight forward Captain Beefheart might if he teamed up with Ry Cooder and Louis Armstrong.

Split evenly between rockier numbers and slower, more atmospheric tracks, it's the latter that really stand out, although that is not intended as a slight on the up tempo bar blues of ‘Songs Put Things’ or ‘Link Wray’s Girlfriend’ which are well above average in their own right.

Highlights include 'Dark And Bloody Ground' which would sit comfortably on the 'Paris, Texas' soundtrack while 'Fall Out Of Love' could be straight out of a 1940's LA piano lounge filled with grizzled private detectives, chain smoking while they ponder, heart broken, over the Ava Gardner look-a-like that slinked into their office three weeks hence. 'Mood Swing Era' offers a late night jazz vocal that combines grooviness with an ominous, disturbing air, courtesy of woodwind interludes, that's reminiscent of The Beatles 'A Day in the Life'.

This is adult music with the weight of experience behind it and the lyrics are some of the most interesting heard in a while, particularily on ‘My Baby Loves The Western Violence’ which you suspect have been gleaned from his experiences working in a security facility.

Those looking for cheap, tinny or frantic thrills will no doubt want to look elsewhere but for those left, this twin sided peregrine of an album will no doubt find a happy home among your racks.

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