By Lindsay Mower, Assistant Editor
If you’re into Avante-Garage music “highly influenced by the taste of guacamole,” then you’re in for one salty, citrusy treat. This punk-funk album, Gin & Sonic, released in 2016 by Alpine Ghost of Can- ton, New York features Farmington native, Steven Yardley, on vocals and guitar over six tracks written by Yardley himself. With influences ranging from the tastes of Steve Miller, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and current influences like Mac DeMarco and Tame Impala, this album intricately blends genres from funk, jazz, punk, hip hop, Rap, R&B and indie rock.
The second track, “Smoke Show Digs on Sa- tan!” features a protagonist; a foolhardy young drunk that objectifies women at all expenses. He be- comes aware that a woman is the spawn of satan with “magic powers,” though he could care less about her personality. Eventually, she eats his soul like an egg roll.
“In this song, I was trying to push the boundaries of what is socially acceptable. You never hear about “real” relationships in a pop radio hit single. Every sexual relationship is between a cis-gendered male and female. Their love can be described as “deep,” “crazy,” “wild,” and “free.” They often call each other pet names like “boo” and “baby,” and “bae.” The woman online interview, adding that he strongly believes lyrics are too cliché nowadays. “SMOKE SHOW is loaded with sardonic wordplay and jokes that make fun of this ultra-religious garbage about premarital sex, shame, and guilt. In no way am I glorifying hook-up culture, and primal pop-clubs, but too say a person is vacationing in hell for an eternity because they like to bone… is nothing but brain- washed religious hullabaloo. Be sexually liberated! Be yourself! But control your libido, you aggressive objectifying slimeball!”
Yardley describes the way in which the song explores avant-garde ideas by blurring the lines between genres progression dissonantly. The punk rock slowly transitions into a stereotypical chorus with the I and V chord progression,” said Yardley, noting, “it is the same plagiarized chord progression since ancient yodeling. No way am I singing this for popularity! I want my absurdity stuck in your head like all pop songs…”
Yardley says the slow R&B funk bridge is the ultimate sarcastic climax of the song where the guy is completely brainwashed in love and realizes his soul in trapped in a box with his smelly gym shoes. “Truly, I wanted to make the pop love song really weird. It allows influence from pop, and also rejects everything about it.”
The intro on the third track, “Swaying Seasons”, reminds me of my own care- free, don’t give a damn, lifestyle during the summer months in Farmington, and is reminiscent to the icy coolness of Mac Demarco. This song would perfectly accompany an afternoon of kickin’ it by the Sandy with friends, reading a good book while sipping a strong mojito. With a Bob Dylan tongue, the lyrics read, “The autumn spun in snow and sun. I spill the sea- sons on my tongue. I packed my trunk to see you punks. Rock- ing out in summer months. You and I without a care, before the winter hearts and frozen hair. Sometimes life is subzero, but my friends are solar flares.”