Yo’True is the brainchild of Ben J. Wood, a young musician who has a refreshingly clear vision for this music project. From the striking aesthetics of the cover for new album Wild Rice to the stage show itself, Yo’True is an excellently presented package that knows exactly what direction it is pulling in. Matching up with the visuals of the album covers, this quintet are donned under the red stage-lights of the Shacklewell Arms in an array of Hawaiian shirts, backwards baseball caps and sleeveless denim shirts. The hipster-magnet that is the Shacklewell is the perfect location for Yo’True to unleash their LP on the world.
Though there is some diversity to the set, the core of the sound is based on a kind of Hall & Oates-meets-Darwin Deez vibe. This is perfect music for anyone missing Friendly Fires at the moment. With Wood’s slick keyboard playing, some of these tunes could be used for the soundtrack to Magnum PI realistically (is that a good thing?). One departure from this sound was guitar-driven track ‘Bedford’ with some fantastic true-to-life lyrics such as “Met my brother when I got back from Heathrow, he’s been living in the City a couple years or so; He says I need to make some money and move out of home and I’m like “Daniel I know”
There seems to be a general theme of a hedonist-materialist struggle running throughout the songs, with single ‘The Dough’ falling into this same category. This was the strongest song of the set for me, and a wise choice for the lead single. The initial sparkly keys are soon swamped with an infectious beat that makes shoulders sway around the room. This culminates in a nicely stripped chorus where the simple stomping bass and half-muted funk guitar takes precedence over the keys for a moment. The band are a suited addition to Wood’s sound with one of the strongest elements on the show being the collaboration of Yo’True’s drummer and percussionist; who are seamlessly in sync with each other. Other tracks such as ‘108’ throw up surprising similarities to early Phil Lynott, while some other slower songs of the set are dangerous close to being forgetful. Although Wood’s vocals are certainly strong enough to carry off the more intimate tracks, Yo’True really shine when they are feeling the funk in their more upbeat compositions. Next up for the guys is a show with The Kemistry at the Finsbury on August 15th, a show I would recommend for anyone looking for a fun summer’s evening of sun-drenched songwriting. In the meantime check out their album Wild Rice and prepare your shoulders for some serious swaying. I hope these boys get The Dough that they deserve.