Wonders Of The Yukon discuss Darwin, death and devotion in their colourful (and misleadingly titled) new single and video Cartoon Dreams — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“It’s a tale of existential angst with a liberal sprinkling of surrealism and absurdism,” says Andy Campbell, one-half of the British alt-folk duo. “It considers the dichotomy between religion and evolution, and pits God against Darwin.” Adds musical partner Dave Langdale: “Faith against genetics.”
Set on a bouncing backdrop of squelching guitars and laser-guided melodies, Cartoon Dreams captures the stark sense of one’s own mortality. “But this is balanced with random meanings using the William S. Burroughs ‘cut up’ technique famously employed by David Bowie,” Langdale says. “After all, what is life but a sequence of random events?” Offers Campbell: “Life is but a dream, right?”
The video stars Woty, the song’s mascot of sorts. “We welcome the ‘birth’ of Woty in this video,” the duo say. “It’s a character that came into existence inadvertently as the stencil left behind from a spray-painted guitar pickguard. Woty spoke to us when we were considering the artwork for this single.”
As heard on their breakthrough EP Songs of Mild Peril (2018) and vaious followup singles, Cartoon Dreams displays the band’s affinity for toying with the darker side of American culture through their Northern England sensibility. The results are yet another addition to a musical library that sits midway between Twin Peaks’ Bang Bang Bar and a weather-ravaged grog shop in the Yorkshire Moors.
With a sound described as having a liquor-soaked romance, replete with soothing harmony and rattling emotion, this is a band that came together by chance; their partners are childhood best friends who also lived around the corner from each other. Previously, Campbell and Langdale have released records via Columbia and Jeepster Records, respectively. They shared stages with the likes of Pavement, Granddaddy, Sparklehorse, Bootsy Collins and more before creating Wonders Of The Yukon. And as for that name, here’s how that conversation came about:
Dave: “I really like the word Yukon.”
Andy: “Yeah, it’s cool. It’s a place, isn’t it?”
Dave: “It’s in Canada. It’s bleak and beautiful.”
Andy: “Hmmm. Sounds quite apt for our music.”
Dave: “I was reading about Yukon Territory … Fantastic wildlife, the Northern Lights, vast and wide open spaces, harmonious nature…”
Andy: “Yukon Territory sounds pretty good.”
From there, the pair did a quick Google search, and discovered it was already taken. “I just still loved the word Yukon,” Campbell continued, not inclined to let it go so easily. “It sounded like something from a sci-fi movie, like it came straight out of Flash Gordon. ‘Ming the Merciless approaching from the planet Yukon.’ Langadle agreed: “Yeah, it sounded otherworldly.” Luckily, an image came to Campbell: “I just saw ‘Wonders Of The Yukon…’ Like a heading or chapter in a novel or newspaper.” Or the name of a really great band from Wakefield, England.