How do you follow up an absolute gem like ‘Oregon Shores’? The track has a sort of ’50s surf feel with its gorgeous harmonies, yet it stays grounded with a sound that has defined the Canadian indie scene in the past few years: gritty, poppy, catchy and cool. Jeff Innes bellows out the question “What does it mean to fall in love?” and it is not immediately clear if we are meant to direct our thoughts to the awe-inspiring Oregon coastline or to someone that can give loneliness a well-needed break. Regardless, the melody will have you humming the tune long after your iPod is at rest and the song will ramp up the energy level in any room. The danger here is that you have one or two killer tracks on an album only to settle for filler with the rest, a tactic that has been duplicated many times to accommodate the age of the digital smorgasbord music library. Thankfully, Yukon Blonde’s second full-length offering does not subscribe to the notion of a single song download. Tiger Talk is an upbeat indie-pop emerald from start to finish, or rather, premature finish.
Weighing in at mere 37 minutes and feeling more like an EP, Tiger Talk tries to make up in presence what it lacks in length. ‘My Girl’ introduces the Vancouver foursome’s brand of indie-pop, quickly demonstrating their penchant for upbeat bouncy rhythms, a chorus of harmonies and ultra-catchy, sing-a-long hook lines. The opening track really foreshadows the rest of the album and the good vibrations continue from song to song. On occasion, we are treated to a few excitable and contagious guitar flails worthy of an air guitar moment or two, but largely, the big draw here is Yukon Blonde’s ability to create sweet, effortless, vibrant and memorable harmonies, all with the capacity to occupy the song-recall centre of the brain for days. While ‘Oregon Shores’ is a highlight, it is not without competition, with gorgeous ditties like ‘Six Dead Tigers ‘or ‘For LA’ capable of wearing out the repeat button on the CD player; a trait also shared by the lead single.
‘Stairway’ neatly typifies the best and worst parts of Tiger Talk. Like the other tracks, there are opportunities for spontaneous karaoke, and the song is a beacon for dancing. ‘Stairway’ adds a rare but awesome vocal section that has some muscle to it, but sadly, like the album, the moment lasts all to briefly. Tiger Talk always seems to end abruptly and the listener is left with a feeling of being cheated out of something. Simply said, we want more.