Yellow Television, and Patience
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Aug. 19, 2011
"Don't know where I'm going, just know where I've been," surmises Randy Reynolds in "Sincerity," the bittersweet country-rock finale of Leatherbag's Yellow Television. That's a fitting synopsis of Reynolds' restless songwriting aesthetic, always pushing forward with no direction home. The shotgun effect of his prolific band vehicle finally hits a kill shot on Leatherbag's fourth full-length, the locals' most direct and convincing work to date. Opening state of the union "Imitation Generation" damns the torpedoes like early Tom Petty, and Reynolds remains on the attack for the No Wave thrill of "Yellow TV" and juke-joint blues of "Modern World," with Craig Johnson's searing sax owing more to Lou Reed's Coney Island than Bruce Springsteen's E Street. Second guitarist Geoff Dupree lends considerable heft to "Falling Down Again" and the wiry punk-pop of "Yanni," while the poignant "Sparrow Blues," dedicated to producer Matt Smith, hearkens back to Reynolds' earliest recordings. Written in a two-week span between the mixing and mastering of Yellow Television and tracked in two days, the Patience EP offers a quick thrill in a power-trio formation. Reynolds revels in the role of rebel without a cause, steering teenage escape fantasies at high velocity, most notably the sneering "Teenage Creeps" and chugging shock treatment of "No Future." "Radiation Squirm" revamps the Judys' Raul's-era classic before the closing ballad "Patience." With Yellow Television and Patience, Leatherbag comes two steps closer to becoming a new American master.