Introducing: Yassou Benedict

Yassou BenedictForget oysters, figs and watermelons: Yassou Benedict are the only aphrodisiac you’ll ever need. Plying their trade since late 2009, the foursome - who formed in Hudson, New York, but are now based in San Francisco - specialise in sultriness, with songs that will weaken your knees, make your heart beat quicker and leave you marvelling at the mournful wonder of their sound, all at the same time.

The quartet met at high school, where their cluster of varied influences from Lykke Li to Aphex Twin to Mastodon collided. Surprisingly harmoniously, in fact: a coalescence of these conflicting inspirations, theirs is a genuinely genre-defying sound; the band’s own description of it as being a blend of “pop, shoegaze, hip-hop and rock” is too simple, and too humble. Indeed, the common denominator of musical fixation for each member, Radiohead, is a good reference point for making sense of Yassou Benedict: as with “In Rainbows”, the album that each member bonded over, they impeccably combine musical complexity with melodic lushness. It’s an enviable trait that can be traced back as far as first E.P, 2011’s Where We Come From - just listen to the eerie experimentation with the top of the guitar neck midway through “Skin On Skin”, or to the brilliantly out-of-time string plucking in St Vincent-like closer “Rule The World” - and which continues to shine through in most recent single “The Cloisters”.

The sensuality of their sound is brazen on that track, as it is in snippets of 2011’s epic “No Lights”. Yassou Benedict are best when they’re rug-in-front-of-the-fireplace, shiveringly sexy: when sparse, XX-like basslines throb gently; when their warm swathes of synths pulse, recalling “Two Dancers”-era Wild Beasts; and when Lilie Bytheway-Hoy’s voice, with all the sass of Bjork and all the celestial purity of a young Joni Mitchell, wraps seductively about you, then shocks you, suddenly, with a jolt of animal-like ferocity.

With Melissa Auf Der Mauer, previously of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins fame, recruited to contribute vocals, things have stepped up a notch in preparation for their forthcoming E.P, In Fits on Dreams. Out on July 2nd through their own label, Be Easy Baby, the new release will mark a maturing of Yassou Benedict’s unique sound and, certainly, go some way to providing the foundations for the “lasting career” they hope for. Just make sure your knees don’t give way when you hear it.


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