Imagine approaching a venue of your local music scene. You can vaguely hear the band start to play as you approach the building, music slightly muted before you first open the door and walk towards the stage. That right there is essentially the introduction from San Francisco-based quartet The Y Axes’ new album Sunglasses & Solar Flares. The Y Axes describe their music as “drawing influence from a myriad era of popular and esoteric music to craft a fun original style” and I couldn’t agree more. This female-led indie pop band is truly unlike anything I’ve heard before (I can’t even come up with a resembling musical act!) and that’s quite exhilarating considering all the music I’ve listened to. If you’re searching for a delightful sound that can effortlessly lighten your mood, The Y Axes is your answer.
First in the 13-track lineup that is Sunglasses & Solar Flares is the aforementioned first track, “Sunglasses.” A subdued introduction leads up to a lively track that reveals vocalist Alexi Belchere’s wonderful voice, as well as establishes the repetitional lyrics utilized throughout the entire album. And in case you just weren’t sure, second song “Nothing With You” does well to make sure you understand just what you’re in for.
“Green to Gold” ushers in more of the synths that the band includes amidst their lineup (ever so prevalent in “Phaser”), and makes for a fun tune. The same can be said of “Dotted Lines,” which brings a stronger line of the The Y Axes’ technical guitar; this song sounds vaguely to me like a Lily Allen song, without the seeming hostility, of course. The guitar solo in “Dotted Line” is fantastic as well, a great addition to the track.
Even though as I listened the songs had a slight tendency to blend into one another and take on similarities, there are unique qualities to each that add a subtle variety to the album. Likewise, hints of decades past are definitely prevalent, just as their descriptor promised; the ’80s are more often heard, especially with the synths, but other time periods are tucked in there as well. “Ghost Town” has a guitar riff that was eerily reminiscent of chords played in a Queen song. Take a listen to see if you hear it as well.
The final track, “Light,” is surprisingly downtempo compared to the rest of the album, and I think it might be this difference that makes it my favorite on the album. The harmonies and backing vocals – the ones I don’t recall at all on any of the predecessing tracks – as well as Hendrix-esque guitar elements halfway through, and the accompanying dash of violin, add a little oomph to give Sunglasses & Solar Flares the perfect ending. “Light” is undoubtedly a track I could put on repeat.
Regardless of album’s sometime overly-repetitive nature, Sunglasses & Solar Flares is incredibly intriguing album and is definitely worth listening to at least once despite your typical musical tastes. There’s just something about these songs, of “coming of age in chaos” and “finding love in the direst of situations,” especially when set against an array of quirky tunes, that make it hard to turn off.
Latest posts by Rachel Policano (see all)
- ALBUM REVIEW: New Medicine ‘Breaking the Model’ - September 16, 2014
- ALBUM REVIEW: Nervous ‘Decode’ - September 16, 2014
- ALBUM REVIEW: Frnkiero andthe Cellabration ‘Stomachaches’ - September 13, 2014