Single Review: Yoke Lore’s “Bravado” and “Body Parts”

Single Review: Yoke Lore’s “Bravado” and “Body Parts”

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Two bright new singles from Adrian Galvin’s project Yoke Lore, “Bravado” and “Body Parts,” aim for unapologetic pop. Here’s RPM’s review:

For a pop act like Yoke Lore, most of the open musical real estate lies in instrumentation. The structure is already set and the lyrics don’t matter as much as the cutting lead the voice brings to the mix. But any pop song that breaks through the clutter needs to experiment with a wild card element. This is how we arrive at the curious sound of a banjo in “Bravado” and “Body Parts,” A and B singles, respectively. On “Body Parts,” this sound grounds the verse in a shroud of authenticity, screaming “Yes, it’s all true!” Not plucked for rattling effect, but strummed for a twangy calm, the banjo hangs around with the programmed instruments around it—punchy drums, synthesizer, and bass. In a similar way, “Bravado” uses arpeggiated banjo chords to temper the conspicuously huge choruses.

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This instrumental battle represents the internal narrative of these songs in microcosm. It’s difficult to maintain any semblance of personality when your music is deliberately washed over and scrubbed out until it reaches a bright sheen, but that doesn’t mean the intent isn’t still there. The careful plunking of a keyboard is the very first sound on “Bravado,” introducing the melody in its most humble form. As the song goes on and the rough edges fall away, we’re left with a level plane punctuated solely by Galvin’s pleading voice. He seems well aware that his voice is the only protrusion—the tall tree where the lightning hits. The other instruments make no special effort to upstage him, and they have no reason to. It’s about the vocalist and his unintuitively lonely journey through the song.

Yoke Lore - "Body Parts" (Official Music Video)

These two songs are anthems—or at least they become anthems through their ceaseless rise. And no matter their musical content, following on the impulse to write an anthem requires a kind of empathy, as it will either succeed or fail based on wide appeal. Galvin’s motivational spark as an artist seems to require him to pursue pop music. But rather than seeing it as doomed to the mass market, he seems content with throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Score: Life in the flat field.

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