“[Vindicator is] a darkly-sweet sort of mantra on lost love, and how to rebuild yourself afterwards. I’m better now, I’ve levelled up, but I wish you were still thinking about me like I think about you,” says Yukon Blonde vocalist/keyboardist Rebecca Gray of her band’s latest album Vindicator. And she’s exactly right.
From the opener, It’s What You Are, the musical equivalent of cruising through a tunnel at night, 80s-tinged neon strip-lights above you sparkling, to In Love Again, 2020’s answer to Melody’s Echo Chamber, to the surprise dancefloor breakdown in the soul-heavy Good Times, Vindicator is all lovesick turbulence and mood-switches.
Tempo shifts within a track as often as sentiment shifts between tracks; from track 5 to track 6, Yukon Blonde go from a curt ‘I don’t wanna be with you / I don’t wanna be near you’ to the walk-back admission that they’re In Love Again.
F*ck It is a stand-out track, reminiscent of early Summer Camp, its synths rippling through a sonic chill-scape as low sun ripples across a placid lake. Then in swaggers the almost unbearably cool grooves of Your Heart’s My Home and that becomes a stand-out too.
The following Get Precious seems to be the strongest callback to the album title, the band determined to prove their better-off-ed-ness post-breakup (‘I’m just doing fine’), even punctuating this with a French spoken bridge section, because what says poised and aloof more than a French accent?
Vindicator, and Yukon Blonde themselves, are clearly not afraid of change; 10 years and 5 records in, reinvention is perhaps the key to their longevity. And as Big Black Cloud, the closer and most defiantly happy moment of the album proves, through change one might find joy.