Tabla, cittern, baglama, cello, esraj, 12-string guitar assemble! Sydney’s YELLOW MONDAY double-down the joy on DOUBLE ISLAND

Review by Vince Leigh

Sydney-based band Yellow Monday has just released Double Island. The new song is an enchanting and joyous combination of indie-folk, roots, and world music.

Utilising a pioneering assortment of unusual instruments including tabla, cittern, baglama, cello, esraj and twelve-string guitar, Double Island blends a traditional organic sound with a contemporary approach, revealing an uplifting soundscape with a relatable and poignant universal lyric.

As songwriter Andy Gray says about the new track: “Double Island is a song about getting together with my beautiful wife many years ago. We were friends, and it turned into something much more. The words are all true. This song is quite a journey.”

Recorded by Phil Snow at Bulletin Place Studios, Sydney, Double Island features Bhagta Singh on esraj, Ziaul Islam Tomal on tabla, Lexi Rose on backing vocals, Craig Calhoun and Andy on guitars, mandolin, and vocals. The new track follows several releases from Yellow Monday, including World Through Those Eyes, Simpatico, Should I Jump, Kanchendzonga and Minda Love, with a compilation of early recordings released last year titled Home Cured 2000-2006.

It begins with a mandolin and acoustic guitar, setting the song’s rhythmic tone. Double Island’s various pleasures lie in the gentle and serene aspects, where each instrument effectively blends with another and Andy’s smooth vocal a skilful accompaniment.

The song’s melodic strength is also a feature, one the minimal production and instrumentation makes the most of.

There is a point towards the last third of the track where Andy’s vocal performances reflect the instruments’ expressive nature, particularly with Bhagta Singh’s use of the esraj.

Double Island will undoubtedly generate across the board support, with its subtle mix of light rhythms and evocative textures, paving the way for Yellow Monday’s vibrant and original style to achieve mainstream success. Double Island is enchanting and cleverly intoxicating and well worth a listen.

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