YUMI AND THE WEATHER + MILO KORBENSKI – THE PRINCE ALBERT, BRIGHTON 29.10.23
I’ve been at my current place of work for nearly five years, and have been known to enjoy many musical conversations surrounding Sparks, Kraftwerk and Gary Numan with a friend there. During that time, she also informed me of a band that her niece had been involved with for several years that I (ashamedly) kept forgetting to check out. The band in question? Yumi And The Weather. The brainchild of one Ruby Taylor, Yumi And The Weather has enjoyed several circulations of releases for the best part of ten years or so, exploring a cerebral utility of alternative pop and indie rock and all its different shades with notice from many higher-ups in the radio world from Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft to Guy Garvey and Iggy Pop. In support of her most recent single ‘Feed The Wanting’, Ruby has taken her chameleonic child on a nine-date October tour, starting in Huddersfield before making her way to Brighton’s The Prince Albert for her final date on Sunday.
Narrowly missing my walk through the rain towards The Albert, I assumed the position to wait for the support act to start, a young fellow by the name of Milo Korbenski. Based in Brighton, Milo has been perfecting a style of self-described “sultrypop” in releases spanning over seven years now, with his current persona, donning a white balaclava and cowboy hat (Gary Numan live veterans take note of Nash The Slash similarities here…!). The background music starts to fade as Milo, joined by live drummer Rhys Bury, take their place on the stage. A quick tune-up leads into the opening riff of ‘Tree Boy’, low-end and weighty, not to mention doubled up using a snazzy harmonizer pedal. Milo whisks his quiet, desolate vocal delivery over Rhys’ drums which follow odd metric jumps that catch you out in a unique and subtle way. Milo greets us all with a hearty “Happy Halloween”, remembering of course that it’s only the weekend and that he “should stop saying Happy Halloween at every show…!”.
Anyways, the second song, ‘Witch In The Cut’, features more pop-like melodies that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Will And The People song. Although, it’s at this song where I spot Milo’s vocals also doubling in layers, through an effect pedal… nice touch! In a pace that feels like riding a horse in a Western noir, Rhys’ groove, paired with egg shaker, provide a strong backbone to an intense track. The calm, yet misanthropic ‘Rooster’ makes use of the duo’s minimal instrumental backdrop in a clever manner, building upon a guitar riff that builds in complexity the further towards the end of the song it progresses. Born out of material found in Milo’s old band TARTAN TAR TAN TAN, the track ‘Slight’ reaches the most desolate and primordial lows of the set, remaining in a quiet groove and low-hanging E note for a vast portion of the song. That is, until the final leg where more riffs and fills begin to swarm across the room, making one of the most dynamically flexible performances I’ve witnessed all year.
Milo wastes no time as this track seamlessly flows into the short and sharp ‘Cool Ghoul’, which is exactly what I could describe Milo’s presence as. Fast paced and frenzied, with more metric jumps, this track is a marvellous addendum to the aforementioned ‘Slight’. ‘Booksmart Hunny’ starts to slide away from the more riff-oriented material that made most of Milo’s songs thus far into something more chord-based, with a propulsion similar to that you could hear in a song by alt-J, or even Wet Leg. Following a quick statement surrounding the recent petition made to help save The Prince Albert from closure, Milo dives into the song ‘All Hallows Grieve’ (how very fitting all these Halloween-esque titles in the set…!). Despite a false start, the track makes use of a slick chorus line and slightly more complex riff structures compared to earlier songs. Finally, the closing track ‘Angelina’ proves to be Milo’s triumph of the night; the poppiest song of the set, power chords driving through the audience, and an almost soulful quality to it, like the mystical veil that Milo put in place is starting to be pulled down.
Milo Korbenski setlist:
‘Witch In The Cut’
‘All Hallows Grieve’
Once Milo and Rhys had departed the stage, I was left eagerly waiting for Yumi And The Weather. Bear in mind that I had no idea what they sounded like or looked like beforehand; all I knew was that it was fronted by a work friend’s niece. Finally, they approached stage, with frontwoman Ruby Taylor bubbling with energy as her bandmates, drummer Robin Pryor and bassist Ed Martin, followed closely behind. A slow, fill-heavy opening groove introduces the first song of the set, ‘It’s All In My Head’… I say slow, it doesn’t last long until we’re suddenly overwhelmed with an angsty 7/4 rhythm! Needless to say that Ruby’s sound is a lot more chaotic than I’d anticipated. “It’s a Sunday, it’s raining and you guys are rad!” Ruby yells to the crowd before sailing into ‘Imagine’, a track that maintains a similar post-punk vibe to its predecessor, but with a thicker dynamic backdrop. Ed, looking like a mix between Thomas Dolby and Everything Everything frontman Jonathan Higgs, provides us with a momentum-balancing bassline before the trio bring us into a slow comedown, topped with Ruby’s stunning falsetto. The pace does not seem to stop as we reach ‘Howl’; stellar chord changes are abundant in the chorus and Ruby blesses us with a guitar solo drenched in distortion and noise.
Finally, a breather! The song ‘Be Your Lover’ features more of a tom-led drum groove and a noodling bassline, while Ruby’s guitar chords are lovely and brittle. Let’s also not forget the lovely harmonies she brings alongside Ed! ‘Hustle’, an older cut from her debut eponymous album, places itself in a more electro-driven atmosphere, with low hanging bass notes and pummelling synths from Robin’s sample pad. The more rhythmic soundscape continues over into ‘Feed The Wanting’, a song of which the titular tour is named after. With a musical scope like a Guided By Voices guitar line perched on top of a New Order groove, this track was easily my favourite of the set! The aura becomes a lot moodier entering the song ‘Lead Me Through Hell’ with its galloping hi-hat groove and almost cowboy-like chords, making me feel like I’m riding into town on a horse on speed. Following the party-emulating energy of the complex chord work on ‘Finelines’, comes the uplifting ‘New Way’. This song makes use of some immaculate interlocking harmonies and an amazing high-end guitar riff from Ruby that just sticks in my head in the best way possible. The band pauses for a minute afterwards to tell the audience to not be shy and say hello (despite their warnings of Ed’s hangry state and Ruby’s suffering of road rage).
‘Can You Tell’ sees some drop D interplay from Ruby on guitar as her vocal melodies paired against the chord progression evoke memories of indie rock legends Yo La Tengo (except Ruby’s voice is in a much higher register compared to Georgia Hubley’s). On this track, and pretty much every song of the night, Robin brings a powerfully stellar groove from start to finish; the man is a machine! We approach the final moments of the night, starting with the track ‘No Time To Waste’, complete with, excuse me, a DAMN heavy bassline and simple yet ferocious power chords adding extra weight to the song. Meanwhile, the closing track ‘Start As You Mean To Go On’ sees the trio at maximum force, with post-punk chords and a blistering rhythm that pulls us in right until the end! Following the show, I congratulated Ruby and the band for creating such incredible sounds; it was extremely gratifying after all these years of knowing them by name to hear Yumi And The Weather pull out all the stops and welcome myself into their world!
Yumi and the Weather setlist:
‘It’s All In My Head’
‘Be Your Lover’
‘Feed The Wanting’
‘Lead Me Through Hell’
‘Can You Tell’
‘No Time To Taste’
‘Start As You Mean To Go On’
Check out Yumi And The Weather on Bandcamp HERE.