Gregg Yeti & The Best Lights, Heart Palpitations of the Rich & Famous

A denizen of upstate New York, Gregg Yeti once led a group called the Flashing Astonishers. Since they broke up in 2002 he’s been ploughing his own furrow, putting out five self-released EPs of which Heart Palpitations of the Rich & Famous is a compilation of bright moments, with a couple of new songs thrown in. Not nearly as scary as his Himalayan namesake, Yeti trades in generic lo-fi indie rock with enough distinctive elements to make this an album that easily bears repeated listening.

Vocal duties are shared between Yeti and Jessica Rudy, both of whom have attractive and listenable singing voices. Yeti’s is timbrally very similar to Gordon Downie, of Canadian alternative veterans The Tragically Hip. There’s a kind of bruised swagger to his voice that is nicely complemented on this record by Rudy’s earthier, lilting tones. She sings lead on two of the album’s highpoints, “Half On The Way” with its fuzzy, warm bed of 12-string acoustic, and the rippling Cocteaus-y atmospheres of “Colonize Your Eyes.”

Most of the other songs here are sharper than that, with chiming guitars bolstered by workmanlike, unobtrusive drumming. The music has a quirky, individualistic edge that is mirrored by the idiosyncratic song titles (“Laughter Be Your Slave,” “Body Like A Fever,” for example). This is a fresh, uncomplicated and enjoyable record.

(originally published in The Sound Projector 17, 2008)

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