Track Review: Yellowbirds, “Mean Maybe”

“Mean Maybe”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Brooklyn-based Yellowbirds is the new project of Sam Cohen, who previously fronted Apollo Sunshine. The band’s new album is Songs From The Vanished Frontier. Perhaps the album title refers to the fact that the songs may never have happened. Cohen began writing again after disbanding Apollo Sunshine, and the songs seem to have willed themselves into existence, appearing, indeed, from some sort of vanished frontier. Like the album’s hazy, neo-psychedelic cover—a black and white photograph of some sort of beach resort, a grand hotel hovering over the edge of the shoreline, a painterly wash of blue, yellow and red—the songs Cohen writes don’t really fit a time and place. A sweetly lo-fi sensibility points to West Coast garage rock revivalists like White Fence or Mikal Cronin, though Cohen also has a foot in the contemporary jam scene, having appeared with Phil Lesh & Friends. Songs From the Vanished Frontier has arrived just in time for summer, though its songs have a burnished, autumnal quality, as well. “Lately, it seems maybe I don’t need you / That doesn’t mean that I don’t love you / Does that make me mean?” Cohen wonders on the bittersweet “Mean Maybe.” Watch the video for the song, shot by Cohen’s wife Sarah Graves in New York’s Chinatown, below.

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