Hailing from Cork, Yearning Curve’s Bairbre Flood and Lawrence O’Donnell joined forces after meeting at the Cork Academy of Music, and between the two of them they’ve created this mixed bag of pop, jazz, electronica and country. The band themselves label the four tracks on ’Blonde On The Inside’ EP as various forms of pop, constituting Jazz, Alt, Acoustic and Electronic respectively.
The jazz-inflected electro of Lady Gaga referencing Lean Lightly leads us in, starting languidly enough with distant trills of horn and electro blips hovering underneath Flood’s vocal. After a surprising electric guitar solo, though, it all becomes a bit overwhelming, in a kind of noisy ‘throw everything at it’ way. Multi Me swells up with a trip hop bass line and bongos, creating a smokey lounge jazz feel. The layered vocals and breathy “do-do-doot-do-do” sections are reminiscent of The Cardigans.
Stuck is a more restrained affair than it predecesors; a country song, really, even if it is more Deschanel than Dement. Sprinklings of electro swirls are scattered between the deep bass guitar and blocky guitar chords, taking on more of a jazz feel towards the end, with horn licks and a hint of military snare. Even though it has no less of those synthetic/organic dichotomies than the previous songs do, it benefits from the judicious restraint the duo show in their execution.
HD3DLED brings with it a complete change of tone – in fact it bears almost no relation to the previous tracks, more like Karen O via Ladytron. quality aside it just seems odd that it’s on this record. It ends with a female voice over a phone line, distant and impersonal –“Connection failed. Please try again” It’s a sentiment apt to the EP as a whole.
Although filled with an interesting intermingling of styles and genres, there is indeed a sort of detached impenetrability to this collection that makes it difficult to connect with. Songs aren’t allowed to breathe despite the airiness in the vocal, as if the multitude of influences that the two musicians bring to the table threaten to collapse under their own weight. It’s only on the pared-back Stuck that the EP seems to settle into its own skin, albeit briefly. It’s an interesting assortment no doubt, but it may leave you feeling left out in the cold.