Friday 19 July 2013


I was very worried about even featuring this music. It is because, personally, Tellison do not excite me very much, if at all (sorry). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this ex-member of Tellison, Yeovil-native London-based Ben J. Wood - now obviously going by the name of Yo'True - has made some very nice music. Yes, this is his debut album, the enigmatically titled Wild Rice. The image you see here is a drawing done by Mr Wood himself - he apparently has a variegated collection of Sharpies that he regularly makes nice art with. The album itself is musically short and sweet; it is for the most part a quite delightful selection of sounds that embrace pop of the sugary variety.

The beginning of it all, 'The Wildlife', sets the scene with an electric piano against a swathe of tinkling bells and light percussion - a retro electropop kinda sound. Atmospheric and nocturnal sounding. When the vocals come in they certainly retain an indie-guitar-band kind of style; they're at their strongest when they're layered in rich sounding harmonies. This definitely has a wildlife feel about it, the song even sounds like a 'diet' version of Toto's 'Africa' in places. The retro guitar breakdown towards the end shows another type of pop - it's not all electropop.

I discovered that this much was the case with 'Bedford'. Honestly, it feels very out of place. The gallumphing '108' has the rhythm of a Black Lace song and I'm also not sure about this one. It's not because they're "guitary", it's because they're not exciting. Soz. I feel that Yo'True is at his strongest when lending his vocal acrobatics to multi-layered, quirky pop backdrops - as in second track 'The Dough'. This is more like it. The chords of the electric piano in this give it a great ambient atmosphere at the start, but when it kicks in for real there's this wholly danceable groove created by an infectious beat and the glossy virtuoso bass, punctuated with bright synth chords. Catchy vocals too. You can stream that below! Enjoy it!

Thick vocal harmonies also play a major part in the half-skiffling, half-chilled-and-quiet 'Achiever' - where the breathy synths in the faster second half of the song sound like a level from Sonic - as well as final track 'Pilot Light', which powers ahead laden with endless waves of synth chords. But it's not just in speedy songs where this album has its strengths - it's also in the relatively slow, like the first half of 'Achiever' and also 'Time Trials'. The deep R&B groove of the latter is in its laid-back bass and almost sparse beat, making use of the empty spaces between sounds to create an epic sound. Here also, that characteristic thickly sandwiched vocal style jumps out at you, decorated with falsetto adlibs.

Aside from those two tracks I mentioned as not fitting the grand scheme of this album, it's a really nice listen. It is retro pop with a unique touch, playful, quirky and rather infectious in places - a foray into a world of alternative pop. 'The Dough' is, for me, the standout track, it just buzzes through you (in a good way) and just itches to be liked. But anyway, if you like the sound of this, Wild Rice is out 5th August on Rogues Records.

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