In these days of anything goes, it is perhaps no surprise that this highly enjoyable album features both ex-Dodgy drummer Mathew Priest and Jo Bartlett and Danny Hagan of arch folkies/Green Man Festival founders It’s Jo And Danny. The brainchild of the latter, the wonderfully named The Yellow Moon Band is rounded out by Rudy Carroll, guitarist and occasional collaborator.
Following several well-received singles for Static Caravan during 2008 comes Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World. Now, if ever a title spoke volumes about an album’s contents then this is a leading contender.
Setting course for the heady days of the, oh let me see, late 60s, The Yellow Moon Band have created a heady stew of groovy psych rock, folk and the occasional slab of Brit Invasion rock. All of which could be a mess in lesser hands, but the instrumental capabilities of the four-piece makes Travels a choogling joy.
Opening track Polaris may start off with a gentle acoustic strum that sounds eerily like the beginning of Richard Thompson‘s The Calvary Cross, but before too long the rest of the band kicks in with an infectious groove that never outstays its welcome (some great ‘bah bah bah’ vocal chants too).
The band rolls easily into Chimney, one of the rare vocal excursions on a largely instrumental album, but the key here is the sinuous lead guitar line (small wonder there have been frequent Peter Green references thrown at The Yellow Moon Band).
Entangled is as fine a slice of psych-folk as you could wish for and leads into Maybach, which has already done the rounds as a 7-inch single and is a dead ringer for The Who circa Quadrophenia. It also boasts the best hook on an album replete with them, no mean feat for what is essentially a jam band.
The 7-incher also featured Focussed, which in style and feel fully justifies the title’s nod to the 70s Dutch progsters. The urgent strumming at the start of the lengthy Domini has the ghost of Richie Havens all over it, before breaking down into a noodly middle section that sounds like it was great fun to record.
Like any good bunch of hippies, the band relaxes with the comedown acoustics of Window before launching into the furious closing track Luncadelica. As the track plays out with some atmospheric feedback the urge is to cue the album up again and fall back into its heady charms.
Exactly who this album will appeal to is a moot point. It may be a little to heavy for It’s Jo And Danny’s folky audience, and definitely to freaky for the ageing Britpoppers who tuned into Dodgy all those years ago. Still, in these so-called liberated days (to quote Rod Stewart) it is encouraging that jam music can still find an outlet. Even better when its as good as Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World.