Noted for throaty, yearning vocals that accompany his swimmy indie soul-pop, Yellow Days is the performance alias of British musician George van den Broek. After some early releases during his teenage years, he began to gain traction with 2017's full-length Is Everything Okay in Your World? Switching locales to Los Angeles, his follow-up, A Day in a Yellow Beat appeared in 2020. Born in Manchester, England, and raised in Haselmere, van den Broek's musical endeavors began when he got a guitar for Christmas at the age of 11. With influences that include Ray Charles, Mac DeMarco, and Thundercat, he started releasing stand-alone singles as a teen in late 2015. His debut EP, Harmless Melodies, arrived in November 2016. Yellow Days continued to release periodic singles in 2017, some of which appeared on his debut LP, Is Everything Okay in Your World?, that October. It featured a guest spot by hip-hop artist Rejjie Snow. Early the next year, "Gap in the Clouds," from his first EP, reached a broader audience when it accompanied the trailer for the second season of Donald Glover's show Atlanta. Yellow Days followed up in April 2018 with the single "The Way Things Change" and a week's worth of club shows in the U.S. that quickly sold out, before continuing the tour in Europe. The musician's sophomore effort arrived in 2020: titled A Day in a Yellow Beat, the project was written and recorded primarily in L.A., with van den Broek sourcing new inspiration from local collaborators.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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R&B - Released September 18, 2020 | Columbia
The perplexing, often fun, and certainly lengthy A Day in a Yellow Beat from British oddball George van den Broek is both an ambitious leap of faith and a journey of playful self-indulgence. Known professionally as Yellow Days, the 21-year-old singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist certainly isn't lacking in confidence, offering up as his sophomore release (and major-label debut) a hefty double-album's worth of wonky faux-soul, indie synth-funk, and sampledelic bedroom pop, all deeply rooted in the 1960s and '70s. Much like Mac DeMarco did for that era's soft rock, Yellow Days sets his D.I.Y. sights on an amalgam of vintage R&B, jazz, funk, and soul, which he ties together in groovy, warped tracks that range from long multi-part jams to brief skits sampling a mix of ironically "square" PSA-type characters and legitimate heroes like Ray Charles. Forgoing the creature comforts of his home studio/shed, van den Broek headed to sunny Los Angeles where he teamed up with an eclectic cast of collaborators including DeMarco, New York rapper Bishop Nehru, and veteran Detroit soul singer Shirley Jones of Jones Girls fame. Beneath its busy beats and feel-good funk cheer teems a roiling undercurrent of angst and existential anxiety adding to the record's slightly off-kilter feel. Even on standouts like "Keep Yourself Alive" and "Let's Be Good to Each Other," it's hard to tell if van den Broek is joking, paying homage, or expressing himself with supreme earnestness. Likely it's a bit all three, which can make absorbing his music a bit tricky. Still, that's part of Yellow Days' enigma and whatever his angle, he's got talent to spare. At 23 tracks, there's a little something for everyone and despite its length, A Day in a Yellow Beat is not without its rewards. © Timothy Monger /TiVo