Some may remember Sam Patch as the American daredevil from the early 19th century who famously catapulted himself into Niagara Falls and survived. Others will recognise the name for the just-released album Yeah You, and I by Arcade Fire bassist Tim Kingsbury. No stranger to pseudonyms – who could forget when they, as a band, fooled us with the moniker ‘The Reflektors’? – Kingsbury has been branching out with his first solo endeavour since the band’s last tour in 2014.
While the album is sturdy enough to stand on its own, there is no severing it from its Arcade Fire connections. With drum contributions from Jeremy Gara on six of the album’s eight tracks and the band’s influence apparent in Kingsbury’s composing style, Yeah You, and I is familiar but fresh.
Many of the tracks lead seamlessly into the next, giving the album a concept feel. It is laden with ambient synth that blends with the underlying fact that this is a rock album. A rock album with plenty of addictive guitar hooks and bouncy beats that will grow on you.
‘St. Sebastian’, the first single of the record, opens with a quiet, rhythmic sound that builds up to a foot stomper of a tune, complete with quirky synth in the background. It has an undeniable new-wave, INXS feel to it.
The unforgettable track of the album is however, ‘100 Decibels’. Although it launches with a 1980’s, casio keyboard-vibe to it (which remains throughout), what results is undisguisable indie. This is complemented with melodious vocal harmonies that provide optimal singing-along opportunities.
Skip to the second last track of the album ‘Never Meant No Harm’, which despite the double negative in the title, is positive and upbeat. There’s something about the syncopated rhythms and vocals that give it a tropical, laid-back feel that the album artwork does not help to cover up. The repetitive nature of the lyrics in the chorus – “you never meant no harm, no you never meant no harm” – means that this is a track that will get stuck in your head.
Yeah You, and I is a fun and playful record which uses retro-sounding synth to push the limits of its indie rock grounding, resulting in a very enjoyable just-over-a-half-hour of listening time. It’s short, snappy and poppy and a grower of an album. What may not be appreciated or noticed on the first listen will come on second, third, fourth and twentieth time around.