By Yellow Stripe Nine
You join me amidst a stormy battle. In one corner are Leeds based rockers Yellow Stripe Nine, heavily armed with copious fine live performances under their belt and shiny new album "1 White Horse" tucked firmly under their arms. In the other corner are those nasty reviewer people who like to think they know best, all the time. Well gloves off and let's get down to brass tacks - is YSN's destiny purely as local gig fodder or does their music deserve a bigger stage?
"1 White Horse" is a studio recorded 10-track demo album. A hearty offering for us to get our teeth into and take a good daddy size bite, hoping to banish the doubts and burn the "also rans" tag from around YSN's neck.
I have seen these guys live before and therefore a few of the tracks are already familiar. "I Love You" a brisk, scatty love song that flits happily between rickety guitar rhythms and the silky vocals of front man Pete Bott.
"My Rhythm & Blues" changes proceedings. Grungy guitar grooves drive impatient angst-laden vocals, crashing periodically onto well-polished breaks and tempo deviations. "Look Sharp" is born of the same make-up. A shifty, imperious tune that flirts excitedly with both delicate vocals and brash rhythms.
"Wind Up Clockwork Man" is a live favourite. A fiery opening verse which collides passionately into a superbly harmonised chorus with Drummer James knox lending cultivated vocal support. Halfway through the song abruptly fades away, calmly drifting back to appear in a wholly different guise. When performed live this works to striking effect. The CD translation though fails to fully capture the essence and leaves the listener bemused rather than elated. The slap round the face it gives their live audience diluted to a mere tickle.
The bout is over and both fighters lay slumped in the corner, neither defeated nor victorious. "1 White Horse" shows Yellow Stripe Nine are sharp, proficient musicians who have written a great bunch of tunes. But in comparison to the band I witnessed a few weeks back it just seems to hold too many punches, the YSN engine seems not to lend as much power and grit to this otherwise very impressive debut.