Sunday, September 27, 2020

YORE 'Bon Mot' review / Q&A with Callum Brown

Ulrika Spacek, Mint Field and Fews member Callum Brown debuts the first single from his upcoming solo venture under the name Yore, featuring a collaboration with White Flower’s Katie Drew, along with a music video by fellow Vicious Collective member, Andrey Rayner.

‘Bon Mot’ begins with a guitar and drum track that declare themselves to be the orchestrator of an opening sequence of, what sounds like, the entirety of the 90s. Katie Drew’s soft whispers linger in the background, only to throw itself into a dramatic sigh, ‘I’m just waiting for myself’, as she wishes for something that she knows she can never have. The song bubbles and spills over, and instead of slumping into a puddle of passive potential misery, celebrates its moment of catharsis and release. 
‘Bon Mot’, at its highest point is energetic, bright, a glass jar of butterflies, with heady guitars that brings to mind not just the sound of The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, but also the lyrical/contextual sense of individual ennui coupled with an acknowledgement of said ennui, by celebrating absurdity, instead of falling into cold nihilism. And still, halfway into its mere three minutes, the song does simmer down, and Drew’s voice is soaked in longing as it drops into a whisper, stating ‘disappointment’. 

One can hear Drew’s deep and steady inhale before she sings, yet again, prompting an image of the vocalist shrugging her shoulders to accompany it.  The song seems to repackage its own influences – the distinct era of 90s rock and roll, where the residual energy of the 80s punk movement was beginning to realise why the project of aggression expressed in music was simmering down to just lamenting, which later gave way to its own co-option by pop music by means of ironic absurdity. ‘Bon Mot’ comes across as a sincere and self-aware product of a retrospection and recognition of this very history, by seeming to propose that the absurdity of individual ennui can be liberating, and harnessed with a sense of direction, by means of the same iconic 90s form. 

In its mere three minutes, Bon Mot seems to ask its listeners to recollect the feeling of youthfulness that embodied the content of the 90s rock that we all know, as opposed to just remember it's undeniably distinct shape or form, without anything in it (tributes tend to warrant such a thing!). Yore has carefully not just cited its influences, but imbibed them as well. One not only recollects the sound of ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, or just its lyrical/contextual sense, but also the iconic visuals of onward marching figures, with no stopping in sight - as part of the song as well. The music video for ‘Bon Mot’ also seems to posit that the sound and visual are referencing the same motive by juxtaposing archival live music footage of a guitarist next to the vocalist.

The first track off of Callum Brown’s first solo leaves one feeling giddy in anticipation for what the rest of the album, with all its unique collaborations, could sound like...

1. When and how did you decide that you would like to put out solo work?

It was towards the start of 2018, 2017 was quite a difficult year for me and just before Christmas I decided to get sober - in doing this I got a lot more clarity & perspective on what I wanted to do & what excited me! It was just a very cathartic process & a creatively fulfilling venture, albeit a challenging one at times.

2. Most written pieces or descriptions of Ulrika Spacek usually begin with how it is impossible to classify them under one genre, do you feel that will be said about Yore as well?

I hope so! I think think it’s restrictive to work within the confines of a particular sound or genre. I wanted to pull influence from a variety of places so it felt fresh to me & hopefully to listeners too.

3. What was behind the choice to put out new solo material that is based so heavily on collaboration? What role does Vicious Collective play in this?

Well, I wanted to get the best out of the music I was making & I started drawing up a wishlist of artists/friends I’d love to work with & who would suit each track - I just lucked out when the majority of people I wanted actually made it onto the record! It was really a way to get the best out of each song.

I live in a warehouse where Vicious Collective are based, it’s just a very creative household and we bounce off each other a lot - I think living within such an environment keeps you on your toes & you feel inspired by it.

4. What do you think fans could expect from the new album?

I still love the album format & there was a conscious effort for it to have a flow & cohesion. I hope people put expectations aside & commit to the journey of listening to a record from start to finish - there’s a common thread throughout it, I think it sounds distinctively like Yore but it meanders on it’s journey!

- Nivedita
Instagram: spooncase

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