Album Review: Yeo – Desire Path (2017 LP)

In the months following the release of Yeo‘s Ganbaru record last year, I felt the Melbourne producer remained criminally slept on; what we had been given was a nigh on flawless collection of songs that put his talent as alt-pop producer and purveyor well on display, as well as giving us an insight into one of the East Coast’s best gems, continuing to be polished.

Small gripes with that aside, we find ourselves in August and the release of Yeo’s new album, Desire Path. The album as a whole is more coloured than Ganbaru in that there are more vibrant nuances on Desire Path musically. Where Ganbaru set Yeo up with some great sonic foundations, Desire Path is a great exploration of the spectrum of sounds he has been playing with over the past year.

The collaborators Yeo has worked with on this album have been choice selections and as such, each of those songs stand out as particular highlights. Album opener brings Asta into the fold, with “Never Wanted That” taking on a Drake/Rihanna “Too Good” vibe, thudding with percussion as the male-female vocal playoff comes together like honey and chocolate – you couldn’t ask for a better combo.

“Three Dots”, the Kira Puru collaboration we loved when it was released as a single some months back, is a great continuation as we continue to see Yeo get progressively more intimate with lyrical content. From late night social media stalking to the pangs of uncertainty and sometimes heartbreak (“Be Your Frand”, “He Ain’t I”), Yeo brings some stories to the board in a way that isn’t necessarily done in Australian music, much less opined in the way he has done.

The nature of each beat’s production, with heavy R&B nots through to nostalgic 80’s progressions, establishes Desire Path as the cool kid up the back of the room, but when you listen to Yeo’s lyrics – Oh Amy, I’m doing everything that I can do, to keep myself from calling you. I can’t lie – it’s easy to see how complicated navigating the emotional terrain can often be for the songwriter, just as it is for many of us.

Desire Path doesn’t stick to the orthodox structures of pop music in the wider scene today and I thank Yeo for making an album like this; it’s not just an easy listen, but each song streams to well into the next, it can feel like you are listening to one continuous project as opposed to songs that could easily be isolated and stand strong on their own.

Review Score: 8.6 out of 10.

Desire Path is out now.

Catch Yeo on the road with Lonelyspeck in September and October!

September 15th | Settlers Tavern, MARGARET RIVER
September 16th | Amplifier Bar, PERTH
September 28th | Sol Bar, MAROOCHYDORE
September 30th | The Railway Club, DARWIN
October 6th | Rocket Bar, ADELAIDE
October 7th | Transit Bar, CANBERRA
October 14th | Howler, MELBOURNE
October 20th | Oxford Art Factory, SYDNEY
October 21st | Cambridge Hotel, NEWCASTLE