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Y!kes – Just Me (Ft. Geoff Rickly)

Birmingham rockers, Y!kes explode on their new single Just Me, but the vocal work leaves me thinking yikes.

Just Me encapsulates plenty of sounds of the 90s from both the American grunge scene and the British alt-rock scene. Imagine Nirvana merging with Stereophonics and Thursday.

The track takes themes from the pandemic and a dystopian future that sees a once bustling city reduced to a ghost town. The visuals are enticing with the character defying existing laws put in place such as ‘no dancing’.

Just Me moves back and forth from picked guitar melodies to explosive choruses with huge chord progressions. It has all the makings of an emotive alternative rock piece with a large guitar focus.

The vocals however, feel too quiet in the verse and forced whereas in the chorus, the gritty-Cobain singing style adds something more to the track. Obviously the whole track can’t be in that style to fit the verse, but that and the bridge of cleaner vocals need to be louder in the track. The intense chorus delivery definitely saves it for me and the added harmonies in the background pull me in.

Y!kes have created a sound that has a lot of influence, but you can’t really nail it down to one style or group. Whilst their guitar work is crushing it in the chorus, it still sounds refined and accessible. The balance of overdriven and sharp production makes it feel like Radiohead in their rock-based days.

Despite my lack of positivity towards the vocal work, the themes and instrumental output make for a varied rock piece. There’s no doubt Y!kes are one of many Birmingham groups who will explode onto the rock scene once venues reopen.