Yerbadiablo is the one man project from Italian multi-instrumentalist Nik (the Öyster) and Jester In Brick Lane his debut album which leaves one a little confused, often bemused, but overall with a buzz and satisfaction from the widely eclectic sounds on offer.
Started in 2010, Yerbadiablo brings a fusion of sounds and ideas which shift from song to song but also entwined in unique and startling ways. To probably over simplify things the music is experimental rock n roll soaked in elements and essences ranging from punk, progressive and seventies rock through to reggae, funk, garage, and hard rock, and that is missing other spices out of the list. From Bologna, Nik provides all aspects of the release with a few guest appearances from musicians like saxophonist/flautist Gabriele Bolognesi of Patty Pravo, adding extra flavouring to his imaginative work.
Released through Logic(il)Logic Records, the album opens with the first single from it, Punk In-Fusion. It is a punk rock/garage stomp with blazing guitars, harmonic shouts, and a scuzzy breath to its energetic stroll. It also shifts through multiple gaits, the punk and rock start evolving through funk and reggae shifts before returning to the boisterous starting sound. First listen , as with the album, is a wrong footing experience, its unexpected and confusing intent leaving one bewildered but the song is easy to warm to and join in league with over a few more visits.
The general theme of the album centres on ‘modern Man’s arrogance towards natural and spiritual phenomena about and more material issues such as the society and economy that he claims to control.’ Throughout though there is the jester of the title, the source of the lyrical attack on man, his anger and spite a punishment to guide and drive man back to older ways and thoughts. It is a premise which leaves one as deep in thought as the sounds, and at times as unsure, but continually lures one in with a willing intrigue and interest as with the sounds.
Winston Smith & the Street Dogs continues the good, its blues/funk rock a keen swagger through the ear which raises a smile on face and emotions. Things are a little unsettled there after though it is more down to personal tastes towards the flavourings used but where a song like Brick Lane does not ignite any sparks a Back To The Monkey with its jazz funk heart is a tasty morsel to get in bed with.
Z’étoile is a real highlight of the album, its ethnic warmth and enthusiasm making for a thrilling instrumental which has no reservation in including rogue mischievous sounds. It is matched by the blues discorded Guilty Blues and the excellent Bad Days Good Waves, a track which reminds of the punk wickedness and sounds of Les Negresses Vertes. It is the best song on the album and despite its length of two minutes, has feet and passions dancing eagerly.
The air blistering and ambience twisting instrumental Towards Wiñay Marka is a inspiring prod to the imagination and leads into the closing duo of Niebla and Yerbadiablo. The first is a gentle sway of piano and guitar around a soft voice which emerges into another chilling and disturbing presence as with the previous track. The last is quite simply the final whisper/threat of the jester, not really a track more a departing rebuke.
Jester In Brick Lane is an engaging and testing album which all should get plenty from. It is vibrant and at times disorientating but always with a magnetic pull to inspire questions and prolonged company. Yerbadiablo should be checked out, it is an experience to make any ones day interesting.
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