Music To Eat Lunch To – The Yoko Casionos: These are the new old times

Label: Universal
Tracks: 12
Release: September 2006
Rating: 9

This band has what I like to think of as a “Café” sound — the sort of thing you are always surprised to find yourself enjoying at the local café or pub. The album has a very relaxed feel, like something you would put on to accentuate a great week. Although it isn’t something I’d pick up off the shelf or go looking for, I’m entirely surprised that not only did I enjoy it but I might even listen to it again.

The band members are from both Vancouver and Toronto, and after a solo run by frontwoman Missy, the band hooked up and gave new life to the music under the new banner of the Yoko Casionos. Who knows why? And more importantly, why not? The band is now based fully in Vancouver and is enjoying the success of the debut album which drew in fans from all over Canada.

Yes, the tracks have a really relaxed feel, but underneath the surface is an energetic vibe that pulls you in unexpectedly. While I presumed I would lose interest after the first ten minutes, the actual effect was much different. The band has figured out a way to take mellow music to a fulfilling level, much in the same way as the Tragically Hip have done. Strong male and female vocals are held up with skilled drumming and guitar riffs that are in no way obvious or repetitive as they are with most bands who try to master this sound.

These are the new old times does sound like a debut album, but not in an unpolished way. The Yoko Casionos sound like they’ve just been plucked straight from the café scene and dropped into a studio. The songs don’t come across as forced or as a copy of the “hot sound” of the day, so you can truly get a feel for what they’ve got to offer — and that’s quite a bit. “Nice to meet you” has a bit of a reggae beat, while “Cameras On” relies heavily on the guitar for a little punch, and “Dove-Eyed” focuses more on the clear voice of the female lead. Although the band is able to use a few different styles, the album doesn’t suffer for lack of structure or clarity. The flow between tracks is seamless and the whole product is surprisingly pretty great!

If, like me, you steer well away from anything outside the Punk or Metal shelves, don’t be afraid to pick this one up and give it a listen. You know, for one of those quiet, happy days.

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