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Yaya and the Snakes - Album Review: The Whole Shebang

26 May 2023 // A review by Peter K Malthus

Yaya and the Snakes first caught my attention back in 2020, when they released the single I Lost My Kumara On The Side Of The Road. Very much my kind of thing, a quintessentially Kiwi tale, a gut-wrenching tale of tuber tragedy. Now, Yaya & Co. have hit us with a full-length 11 song album. Mind you, The Whole Shebang might contain 11 tracks, but with an average track length of around 3 minutes, the album clocks in at just over the 30 minute mark.

I get a real kick out of bands that can write an entire album of stylistically different songs,  but still sound essentially just like themselves (FNM's Angel Dust being a perfect example), and I feel that's what we have here, too. First track Speed Tourism reminds me of the punk/funk stylings of Steriogram's White Trash, proudly delivered in a Kiwi accent. 5G reminds me of the great Australasian pub rock bands of the 70's and 80's, showing some more depth to their songwriting, and going to more of a punk sound reminiscent of Dead Kennedys, towards the end. Internet Dating sounds just how I'd expected it might, a cheese-laden lounge-o-rama, the vocals delivered like a moustachioed Carpet Knight of Old, describing a protagonist eagerly awaiting reactions to his brand-new dating profile.

Rachel Hunter is a song that resonates wistfully with a chap of my era, recalling a time when a veritable goddess sprang forth from our shores, captivating the hearts of millions. A beautifully plaintive declaration of fealty.

Former single Kumara is up next with its new shortened title, rocking along with a boisterous Rockabilly feel, underpinned by a filthy filthy bass tone. Some Acapella scatting starts off the fiery, punk-fueled Pomero next, a cautionary tale of food allergy, with a somewhat TMI chorus. I won't go into detail here, but suffice it to say, "You should've seen it".

Dig Down has a very drop-tuned bass riff leading the charge into a dark, ska-influenced banger. Dig My Diamonds is a harsh commentary on the gem trade, again with a more punk feel that has a dark and riffy middle section.

Shady was instantly my favourite track, and got added to my everyday favourites Spotify playlist. A chuggily heavy riff in an angry song calling out liars and fakes. It made me think of a heavier Tu Plang-era Regurgitator, a very 90's feel.

Has Love Vanished reminded me of bands like Pulp and Suede, a strong and rich vocal performance over a guitar-driven Britpop-esque sound, a sweet melody juxtaposed with somewhat more pessimistic lyrics. All rounded off with Mighty Mighty, a hard-hitting rocker with a short, reflective middle section. Nothing quite as mighty as staying out all night...y.

The Whole Shebang is a pretty apt name for an album that covers so very many genres, and does them all so well, too. A quirky, fun, adventurous band with strong musical prowess. I bet they go off, live. Get your snaky butts down to Christchurch so that I can find out, would you?

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Yaya and the Snakes

Yaya and the Snakes is a four-piece blues-rock band from New Zealand, comprised of a guitar, vocals, drums, and bass. Formed out of a desire to create music that people can dance to, Yaya and the Snakes has quickly gained notoriety for their electrifying live shows.

Influenced by a wide range of musical styles, from Primus and Queens of the Stone Age to classic rock and roll, Yaya and the Snakes have created a unique sound that blends the best of the old and the new.

With themes that range from having fun and facing everyday life issues to just enjoying the happy vibes, Yaya and the Snakes' music is both uplifting and relatable. The band's goal is to release albums, tour New Zealand, and make an impact on the local music scene while having a great time.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Yaya and the Snakes


The Whole Shebang
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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