Self Portrait is the aptly named debut album from Mr Yolk. The record is songwriter Samuel Jones looking inward, searching his vulnerabilities, humour and views. And the result is a record that is both personal and open.
Mr Yolk has successfully taken every generation of UK indie/psychedelia, from the 60s through to the 1990s, and cooked up one hell of a musical omelette. Egg puns aside, Jones is highlighting the importance of humour in music, while showing the world songs that don’t hide behind layers of effects.
This ethos allows the album to breathe and mature at its own pace. Natural space becomes part of the songs, which are often cool and calm. Each composition develops in an unconscious manner, with only a slight hand nudging them along. Everything Is Blue And Orange is a fine example of the simplicity Jones and his band manage to create. The central guitar riff and vocals power the song through the odd sample or two.
Latest single Star Light Head Light sounds like it could have come from the mind of Blur’s Damon Albarn. Its quirky vocal harmony goes well with the smooth, enthusiastic guitar riff that bends and swaggers around the ethereal space.
The simplicity of the guitar throughout the album proves you don’t need a fancy pedal board to create a great sound. That element of one person, the instrument and the amp is an underrated concept, lost in today’s hi-tech world; it’s a skill that needs to be rediscovered.
Overall, Self Portrait is a fun album to listen to. Jones’ humour and ability to create simple songs is refreshing. Yes, it takes influence from a psychedelic scene decades old, but it sounds like it belongs in 2017. Music fans will love the album because the songs are great. While songwriters and producers will appreciate the creative approach.