[sic] Magazine

Yonokiero – Blue Apples

Between 1997 and 2004 Chris Baldwin and Tom Coogan were members of the band Hirameka Hi-Fi, who released several records of noisy, distorted rock. Nowadays they use another Japanese-sounding moniker but their music couldn’t be more different. The result is ‘Blue Apples’ by Yonokiero, an occasionally dramatic but predominantly relaxed affair which concentrates on lo-fi melodies.

After the country-folk whimsy of ‘Invitation To Malmo’, Baldwin and Cooper find their feet on the excellent ’Rare Bit’; the perfect mix of edgy guitars and dark yet breezy harmonies. Haunting vocals are also the key to ‘Casey Jnr.’ and the bewitching title track except here the setting is acoustic. ‘Tsuris’ emerges from the shadows after some quiet verses, to present a warm uplifting chorus whilst the instrumental ’Cuddly Dominion’ and vulnerable closer ‘The Test Dream’ maintain quality control right to the end of the record.

By virtue of its home recording and the style of music performed, ‘Blue Apples’ is a very intimate record. This simplistic production could have diminished the material but the duo are canny enough to colour their tunes with snatches of harmonica and brass instruments and – after a couple of listens – it’s obvious that every pluck of the guitar has been carefully thought out and every lyric is sung with a lot of feeling. Complete changes in musical direction aren’t usually advised for musicians but Yonokiero are a happy exception to the rule.



More of Jon’s Reviews can be found at his blog, Leonards Lair