Drake's latest single is another step in the mediocre, chart-driven direction he has been heading in since Views, says Kieran ReadWritten by Kieran Read on 15th February 2018
Spotlight On: Yellow Days
Redbrick's Kieren Williams turns our attention to Yellow Days' short, yet already successful and promising career
George Van Den Broek, aka Yellow Days. The eighteen-year-old was born in Manchester and raised in Surrey, and is the artist you will soon be hearing everywhere. Blurring genres, he finds himself somewhere between soul and indie. His influences vary from Ray Charles to Thunder Cat to Mac DeMarco and Tame Impala, and this shines through in his music, how he blurs half a dozen genres effortlessly. His songs go from slow and woozy, crooning elegantly about heartbreak, loss and depression with the likes of ‘Your Hand Holding Mine’ to beaming at the sun in the ‘Gap in the Clouds’. Which, if it were possibly to put a walk in the sun after a storm into music, this song does it.
His talent shines through in his intricate production of guitar, drums and his own voice, eerily drifting through the likes of ‘Outro (Baked in the Sunshine)’ whilst lazily rocking along on ‘That Easy’, all perfectly fitting his unique sound. His kicked-back music could come straight from a Sunday afternoon jam; lo-fi and relaxed, he paints an almost psychedelic picture of teenage life through heartbreak and unrequited love. It’s the type of music that sits perfectly with a walk through your city or hometown, regardless of how you’re feeling.
“He paints an almost psychedelic picture of teenage life through heartbreak and unrequited love
His voice sounds like that of a much more experienced and aged musician, it’s not what you’d expect from an eighteen-year-old at all. But he uses it perfectly in his own little sub-genre of indie-soul and fits right in amongst his contemporaries like King Krule. His voice overflows with a raw grittiness that fits that the production, which goes from relaxed most of the time to bordering on erratic at others. He makes the sort of music you could dance to in the corner of that really cool bar you’ve recently discovered with the lights low, or that you could cruise through your day to, content and moving to your own rhythm.
“His voice sounds like that of a much more experienced and aged musician, it’s not what you’d expect from an eighteen-year-old at all
He has had two projects out in the last two years: Harmless Melodies, a seven-song EP, was released in 2016 and runs to almost 25-minutes in length. The jazz-influenced pop artists he listened to growing up clearly influence his work here, he sings about heartbreak and longing and happiness in between the dark times, with an amazingly honest, raw, yet laid-back approach. He drifts hazily from song to song, with ‘Gap in the Clouds’ being the definite highlight of this album. On each song, his voice bursts with emotion and sits perfectly with the instruments and production from the upbeat to the slow and chilled and everything in between.
“His voice and production swoops from the upbeat to the slow and chilled and everything in between
Van Den Broek only gets better on his second release, Is Everything Okay In Your World. His sound matures and has the chance to expand over the longer 13-track album. He’s grungier, but more soulful at the same time and a better-rounded artist across the board. This album sees his first features, most notably in Rejjie Snow, an up-and-coming Irish rapper, and the two riff perfectly off one another on ‘Lately I’. Then, alongside Nick Walters, the duo turn ‘The Tree I Climb’ into a bonafide jazz-record even my own father liked. His production has improved along with his voice, but retains its aged cadence and rawness, leaving this an impressive sophomore album.
“His production has improved along with his voice, but retains its aged cadence and rawness, leaving his sophomore album an impressive one
All in all, the two projects Yellow Days has put out offer a promising future from the young and rising singer. His off-kilter style manifests in his music and his fashion and, along with his uniqueness, sets him in good stead for the future. Having recently featured on an Atlanta trailer and on Zane Lowe’s recent playlists can’t hurt his chances either, as well as getting his first mainstream radio plays. His website perfectly reflects the music he’s put out, the erratic, oozing, vibrant kaleidoscope of colours are somehow alert and relaxed at the same time. High and yet sad. Such a diverse artist has a bright future, and whether he sticks to his current sound or branches out, it will be well-crafted music, defined by that soulful young voice of his.