This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by Yonderboy. The review was written by Maria Pinto-Fernandes in 2008.
For a band that describes themselves as ‘Italian Pop / Dutch Pop / Chinese Pop’ I was somewhat anxious of the audio content of Yonderboy’s demo. What one hears couldn’t be more welcome and truly unique, which is quite rare in these times I’m sure one would agree.
‘Frightened Rabbit’ starts as it means to go on with a fairly easy introduction which when coupled with Zand O'Driscoll’s creamy vocals is nothing short of heaven. “Who would care for frightened rabbit with headlights in its eyes?”, Driscoll asks the listener, but to make sure we come unstuck the tempo picks up and one joins the singer on a lyrical quest unlike any other. However, the seemingly jovial tone of the track is soon proved to be deceptive, “It’s a beacon of hope/ But I’ve never been there”, which strikes a chord with the masses because we all know the feeling of being momentarily stuck in the abyss of hopelessness. ‘Frightened Rabbit’ could yet rise to the status of the pick-me-up song of our generation as Driscoll barely pauses for breath in his temporary pessimism in a kind request, “Please don’t slow me down”. It is at this point in the song that Driscoll’s unwavering lust for life comes across both through the unashamedly optimistic lyrics. Not only that, but his vocal talent really comes to the fore as his voice soars over the instrumentation to illustrate his fervour for the world that we live in. To describe Driscoll as persevering would be meant in the most complimentary way as the false finishes only serve to highlight the singer’s pure love for what he does and how his audience becomes putty in his hands, taken in by his sweet melodies and delicious voice.
Track two of two is fantastic as ‘Last Man Standing’ embarks on the telling of an altogether different tale than the one before, “I went for a job the other day/ He looked me in the eye and said no way”. Driscoll manages to sing the song without the lyrical content of modern living seeming tired, as it so often can if everything isn’t just right. The song isn’t largely dissimilar to sung poetry as the rest of the verses follow the same pattern, telling of failure in many other aspects of life. The question is posed of “Where is my feeling of acceptance and self worth?” as Driscoll’s lyrical journey of self-discovery becomes clear. Not to worry though, as the songwriter’s optimistic drift isn’t far off as he tells us to “Come to the city and choose life”. Subsequently we are treated to a mini-instrumental that far from outstays its welcome as the musicianship of Driscoll’s bandmates, Curragh Treanor also on guitar, Bruce Woods on bass and drummer Sammy Thomson are given centre stage. The anti-establishment tone of “We go to school so we can be taught/ What to hide our resentments for” is all the more powerful when under the guise of a happy melody.
Yonderboy are a thoroughly enjoyable band, whose talent shines through at every stage in their songs which I’m told are to be featured on an EP set for release before this Christmas. Honestly though, how can you forget two tracks when the final one ends with the lovable pomp of “Where’s my adulation?”. It’s not too far off Yonderboy, just you wait.