Judging by 75% of ex-libertines, the chances that the remaining 25% would go it alone (kind of) and release a debut album that doesn’t sound three musicians short of band, content to wank for coins while singing Libertines karaoke until the threat of a reunion becomes reality are pretty slim. But despite John Hassall’s previous musical affiliations, Yeti’s debut long-player ‘The Legend Of Yeti Gonzales’, with a few exceptions, has hardly got a whiff of the Albion about it, neither is it made up entirely of Barat and Doherty hand me down’s leaving Hassall to sound every bit the talented musician he is.
It is however almost inevitable that Hassall’s Libertine qualifications are occasionally betrayed, but it’s only minimal. Touches of Doherty’s brush are splashed across ‘Cant Pretend’ while the creeping bass-line malevolence of ‘Midnight Flight’ sung under the umbrella of a solitary film noir street lamp could, depending on your listening preference, come from either The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things or Babyshambles; and of course the prime offender is The Libertines track ‘Sister Sister’ (sung originally by Hassall on the ‘Legs 11’ demo). But that’s about it and Yeti’s experience soaked, carefree innocence and cautionary wistfulness more than anything makes you wanna buy a six-pack, pick up an acoustic guitar and invite your mates round rather than relive those dreaded good old days.
With no apparent axe to grind or cross to bear, Hassall and co embark largely on an exploration of halcyon fuelled beat pop, combining simple stripped back semi-acoustic structures with uncomplicated lyrics and unadorned daydream harmonies through ‘Obvious-Lee’, ‘Don’t Go Back To The One You Love’, ‘Til The Weekend Comes’ and ‘Jermyn Girls’. With song writing duties split between the group, four distinct yet complimentary styles permeate the album, but it’s through the smile inducing ‘Merry Go Round’, Mersey drenched ‘In Like With You’ and the foot-stomping barn dance sing-a-long ‘Shane Macgowan’ that the band seemingly find their feet.
As the album progresses, it grows and flows in both character and confidence and although familiarity apparently breeds contempt, the album and especially the delicious ‘Never Lose Your Sense Of Wonder’ and established sound of ‘The Last Time You Go (6 Feet Under)’ sound more pre-washed than Sta-Prest. It might not be big or clever but ‘The Legend Of Yeti Gonzales’ is a damn fine album to kick back to and enjoy in all its undemanding and straightforward glory.