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L to R: Graham Vincent Jones, Brandon Wolfe Scott, Jeffrey Innes, James Younger (Photo: Raunie Mae Baker)
L to R: Graham Vincent Jones, Brandon Wolfe Scott, Jeffrey Innes, James Younger (Photo: Raunie Mae Baker)

Yukon Blonde Yearn For Human Connection in Isolation on Shuggie

The Vancouver indie rock stalwarts invite us to bask in the rays of the present moment with them.

by Sebastian Buzzalino

Yukon Blonde have been doing this rock and roll thing for a long time — the majority of their adult lives, in fact. In the decade plus since their 2009 debut, the quartet has seen an entire generation’s worth of societal change, including their own personal growth as people and as musicians. What started off as an indie rock group has morphed into a more mature, measured pop group that revels in rubbery synth lines that anchor what have become their trademark tight, multi-part harmonies. 

On their latest, Shuggie, they continue their extensive exploration of harmony, often working alongside inspirations like Fleetwood Mac, who pushed the boundaries of what kind of songwriting is possible based around a single chord. But rather than being too introspective and perhaps self-congratulatory, Yukon Blonde are desperate to reach out on Shuggie. The nine tracks extend like tendrils into the digital void, looking to form a lasting human emotional connection among all the Amazon package deliveries (“Not Interested”), omnipresent iMessage swoops and dings (“Text Me Plz”), and entire Sundays wasted away in bed focused more on the phones in our hands than the people with us (“You Always Get What You Want”).

“Communities are formed that way — doing nothing together,” says lead songwriter Jeff Innes. Tuning in and dropping out has been a mantra against mindless, droning consumerism for half a century, and Shuggie invites you to lay in a sunny patch on your living room floor with your friend/lover/pet/whomever and just enjoy the comforting simplicity of existing in the same unstructured physical space together without the need to constantly feed the machine. Unplugging never felt so good.