Yen Harley The Substance Of Things

'The Substance Of Things' is Dutch Alternative Rock outfit Yen Hartley's attempt to break out of the shadows and show that they can produce some big sounding rock that's still relevant today.

Alternative rock doesn't really describe Yen Harley; they are more melancholic rock. This style has been around for many years and its practitioners have become more and more rare. The opening track 'Pearls' sets the scene. Lots of repetitive rhythm that drives home the melancholy and catchy phrasing an choruses galore. Often sounding like a heavy REM (especially on 'Call It Love'), there are flashes of Steve Winwood and Peter Gabriel

The whole album seems stuck in the same mood; though the mood is a good one. The album is not exactly 'slashing your wrists melancholic', though in parts you do find your mind drifting away. The laid back atmosphere is good and most of the time you will find yourself trying to sing or hum along.

'Holes In The Sky' stands out. It's bigger and more anthemic in its delivery. Often reminiscent of Midlake, there are some great guitar and rhythm sections to compliment the addictive vocals; very nice. The album is full of catchy choruses and easy to listen to rock. One that typifies this is 'Line Of Fire', with its change of mood and tempo and catchy chorus it's simply sublime. The last track on the album, 'By Starlight' is more of the same but does become slightly over indulgent, though this is rescued by some fine sounding, crystal clear guitar sound. Overall, the musicians are competent. There are some nice lead guitar moments and the rhythm section is always tight. The vocals of Lukas Batteau are consistently good throughout and his delivery can't be faltered.

Rather than just an album of nostalgia, Yen Harley has put together a great set of songs which are well arranged and are still relevant today. Though melancholic rock will never become the mainstream, the occasional commercial success may just manage to creep in and it's bands like this who will lead the way.