Formed in late 2013 the Oxford, England based collection of musicians known as Yew originally began as two friends, Ruben and Jirair, a singer songwriter and drummer respectively. The two friends had previously been in bands together since 2009. Both Ruben and Jirair had begun Yew as a project for fun though it soon began to take on a life of its own and soon enough they found themselves turning Yew into a full time band. During the long winter of 2013 to 2014 the band decided to record a few tracks with producer Kit Monteith of Trophy Wife, at Safehouse Studios in Oxford. In the studio, with the addition of bassist Josh Ward, the original demos were expanded resulting in the the four-song Yew EP.
From an overall standpoint Yew EP is a pop lover’s dream. All four songs contain sweet sounding vocal tracks, which lament on the experiences of love and loss that happen to us all throughout our lives. Musically the guitars are soft and often shimmery as they sweetly ring out and echo from the amplifiers causing a warming sensation to the ears. The drums exist to keep the time and add some head bobbing beats to the background, and the bass often times lends a bit of funkiness, which has a dance like quality to many of the songs. Lead singer Ruben’s vocals are light and airy and fit right in with the style of music that Yew makes.
The EP opens with the electropop lament “Glass.” Here the shimmering guitars mentioned earlier shine in unison with the sparkling synth keys and the spacey sounding backing vocals. Over time the song begins to build and near the end the band jams together though they never really seem to bring it all in and tie the song up and they rein it in too soon, making the ending seem a bit abrupt.
“The Floor” is a dance pop dream that moves at just the right pace, Here the soft vocals don’t get in the way too much and the music is allowed to speak for itself. This dance trend is followed by an even dancier next track, a remix of the first song “Glass (After the thought Remix),” which is basically the original song “Glass” though with added synths, an up-tempo drum beat and the vocals sped up a bit. It’s a nice addition because it shows that Yew is not afraid to edit and experiment with their sound.
As with most EP’s Yew EP exists as a small sampling of what the band is trying to do. And though these songs sound like they were recorded and mixed professionally, none of them really stand out from the other. However a full-length album of more fleshed out songs may find the band growing more in their songwriting skills, until then this little EP will have to serve as all we know of Yew.
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