Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Prepare for Take-off with Bears in the Yukon

February 10, 2009

You May Die In The Desert started out as a guitar and bass duo from Seattle before morphing into what they are today—a three-piece instrumental group. Bears in the Yukon is a purely instrumental album, consisting of seven tracks. I automatically assume that boredom will ensue when it comes to purely instrumental albums, but this day I was in luck. You may Die In The Desert (YMDITD) has immense technical skill. One of the first bands I thought of in comparison was the technical, instrumental aspect of Between the Buried and Me.

The sound could be described as ambient, atmospheric, spacey; the type of music that would be playing if you were to suddenly take flight. Seriously–if I was so lucky as to have a spaceship come into my possession, this is what I would be pumping through the speakers. It’s the kind of music that inspires the listener to get off their butt and embark on some sort of creative enterprise of their own; I love that in music.

It’s refreshing that the sound of the guitar is played with and changed up—there isn’t just a barrage of distortion or acoustic, which is extremely important in an instrumental album. The tracks all are very cohesive, but I found “The Writer’s Audience is Always Fiction” to be the most enchanting. Amidst flashbacks to songs by Modest Mouse and The Postal Service, I found myself immensely enjoying this track. Its tempo is set by what sounds like a digital high hat drum beat—it stands out from the rest. There are definite elements of jazz infused throughout, not only in this song but in the entire album.

They obviously know what they are doing; the technicality of the layering of sounds, the implications of the drum beats, the airy reverb and delay of the guitars; it all makes for a very intelligent, mystic-feeling musical sojourn through the eardrums.

YMDITD possesses enough skill to keep the listener alert yet relaxed throughout their songs. They go to prove that words aren’t needed where music can suffice and thrive on its own.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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