The Bay Area is home to many of the best present day indie pop acts. Yea-Ming & The Rumours, who just released their sophomore album, are no exception.
Within that wealth of indie pop goodness, Yea-Ming & The Rumours have carved out a nice niche for themselves. Their songs are soaked in ‘60s nostalgia with a bit of folk, a bit of country and touches of Camera Obscura, France Gall, and The Crystals. Expect sweet, dreamy and gorgeous melodies, expect to be mesmerized by the voice of Yea-Ming Chen, expect jangly guitars, expect your heart to be broken, expect your soul to be mended.
At first blush, the songs of Yea-Ming Chen sound stripped to their essence. A consequence of growing up listening to bands like Mr. T Experience, The Queers and Dressy Bessy, I read Chen explaining in a write up at Lilystars Records: “Bands like that made me realize the power of a simple song.”
But it won’t take long to discover how subtle and plentiful the instrumentation and arrangements are. Chen wrote all the songs on “So, Bird…”– with the exception of album closer Takeda Lullaby which is a traditional Japanese folk song. She plays a lot of the instruments on the record as well, including guitar (and slide), bass, piano, drums and synths. Anna Hillburg, Sonia Hayden, Eoin P. Galvin, and Matt Bullimore contribute with additional (slide) guitars, drums, lap steel, and percussion.
The result is a record full of standout tracks. Oh Sweet Mother and Back To The Days Of I Don’t Knows immediately made me add the record to my wantlist. Other tracks, like the indie country Ruth and mellow By The Sea (video here) offer perfect backdrops for staring out of the window longing for spring. Heartache Ain’t Nothing almost sounds like a classic folkhit from the ‘60s.
So yeah, plenty to like and discover on this one. And what a release week for Dandy Boy Records, who also released the new Sob Stories LP (our post here), and the vinyl reissue of Blue Ocean’s excellent self-titled EP compilation (more on that here).