- Posted on Mar 16th 2012 3:00PM by Jason Schneider
"I wanted to call this thing 'F---ing Tigers,'" singer-guitarist Innes shouts over a noisy crowd prior to one of the band's 10 -- count 'em 10 -- SXSW sets this year.
"It never came to fruition, but it was on the pile of demos the guys listened to when we started planning out this record," he tells Spinner. "When they asked what it was, I said it was just some electro-punk s--- I was messing around with. But after they listened to it, they said that this was the stuff we should be working on. All of the song titles had the word 'tigers' on the end of them, and we were saying it so much that we finally decided just to call the album 'Tiger Talk.'"
That electro-punk edge is evident throughout the album. It comes off as a natural progression from the initial jangly guitar pop -- reminiscent of Sloan circa 'Twice Removed' -- on Yukon Blonde's 2010 self-titled debut. Following a rush of accolades for their debut, the band signed a deal with Dine Alone Records in 2011 and teamed up with Black Mountain/Ladyhawk producer Colin Stewart to create a four-song EP titled 'Fire//Water.' It was a taste of things to come, with Stewart's touch behind the board significantly expanding the band's sonic palette.
"When we first got together with [Colin], we started listening to a lot of the same things, like XTC and Talking Heads, the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks," Innes says. "It got us all really focused on making a super-pop record with that kind of late-'70s feel. We also wanted to do a multi-tracked record, which was a totally different approach than we'd taken before. We were kind of disappointed with some of the guitar sounds on the first album, and how concrete it sounded in the end."
The pursuit of pop perfection has been Innes' obsession since he, guitarist Brandon Scott and drummer Graham Jones first appeared on the scene in 2005 as part of Alphababy, a band whose recorded legacy remains two limited-run EPs. Three years later, they became Yukon Blonde and signed a shared deal with Toronto indie labels Bumstead and Nevado. In spite of the band's almost pristine take on guitar pop, their hirsute appearance inevitably got them branded as classic rock revivalists, with their early press releases unfairly comparing them to the likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Supertramp.
'Tiger Talk' should be able to put all that firmly in the past now, given how much raw energy it packs into 36 minutes. Innes admits that the album is the first accurate representation of how Yukon Blonde sounds live.
"It's really easy to make a set list now," he says. "We've always been an energetic band live, and the new material just feels so natural to play on stage. We've played so many shows over the past few years that being able to engage audiences has become really important. I think that how we perceived ourselves as a live band, in that way, definitely played a big factor in our mindset going into this album."
Watch Yukon Blonde's 'Water' Video