George van den Broek has just published his debut EP on Good Years, under the name of his musical identity Yellow Days. With clear influences from the likes of Ray Charles, the young prodigy has managed to develop an impressive style for only seeing seventeen years of life. His debut release “Harmless Melodies EP” is going on my list of surprise breakout hits of 2016.
The “Harmless Melodies EP” opens with a spoken word segment set to music, one of my all-time favorite ways to introduce a concept and create a musical setting. The excerpt is of John Cleese speaking on the intricacies of creativity. It appropriately sets the stage for the rest of the EP, and immediately presents the thoughtfulness of the artist.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/293149576″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
“Your Hand Holding Mine” is really what made Yellow Days a point of interest, and queued him up nicely for a full EP. He sings of the final moments spent with a first love, describing a personal experience that still manages to relate to us all. In “Gap in the Clouds“, Van den Broek sings, “all this time I was just running around, a beautiful mind between those eyes”. The vocals are well executed and full of meaning, reminding me of old jazz guitarists and their soulful singers. The fervent lyrics bring me to reminisce of an era I’ve never lived.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/293467036″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
The soulful sounds carry throughout “Harmless Melodies”, making the EP feel like one single journey through old worries and problems of the past. The base guitar present across most of the tracks is well composed and well executed. The organ-style synths lay down a simple yet full backdrop to support the vocals and the story George aims to tell. Perhaps the only discrepancy I have is the lack of tempo change. While a coherent sound is preferred, some variation serves the listener well. Around the sixth track, I start to drift off into my own thoughts, and the tracks go from the forefront of thought to the background noise in my mind. A tempo change would help to alleviate the misgivings of most listeners short attention spans.
Yellow Days‘ “Harmless Melodies EP” is a late edition to 2016’s list of breakout hits. Yellow Days has proven his worth with this masterpiece that soothes the mind and soul. I can’t wait to see what his assuredly long career holds in store.