REVIEW: Yeo – Desire Path

Since April, Yeo, the multi-talented musician from Melbourne, has been drip-feeding singles from his latest album, Desire Path. With seven of the 10 tracks already unveiled prior to the release of the project, it’s obvious that Yeo has taken a contrasting path to that of his previous record, 2016’s Ganbaru. As the saying goes, a lot can change in a year. While it remains a combination of RnB influenced electronic pop, Yeo partners with a bunch of collaborators to delve into quite unique lyric inspirations like social media, the friend-zone and one nights stands.

It may just be the heavy female features on Desire Path, although the album feels instantly more pop influenced than Ganburu. Comparatively, Ganburu had zero collaborations, whereas Desire Path consists of five. On first impression, the female voices are a simple but distinct alteration from the two records, which were released just 18 months apart. However, after a more thorough rinsing of Desire Path, it becomes clear that it’s really not too dissimilar compared to Ganbaru. The resemblances predominantly lay in the production, where Yeo retains the distinguishable warping synths and various percussive elements.

While the production remains relatively similar to Yeo’s previous work, the lyrical inspiration behind Desire Path has had quite the impact compared to the rest of his discography. On Ganbaru, the lyrical themes were mostly centred around Yeo’s ethnicity and the struggle of an Asian-Australian to break on to the Australian music scene. Here, Yeo details the life of a millennial, discussing social media oddities on tracks ‘Three Dots (ft. Kira Puru)’, inspired by the typing dots, and ‘@snackswithyeo’. ‘Be Your Frand’ also references millennial life, with Yeo detailing a relationship where he’s found himself in the dreaded ‘friend-zone’ – “it won’t break my back, if you say you want to be friends / I’ll be your friend!”

The most recognisable aspect of Desire Path is Yeo’s kooky and unique production, which has always been the force of his music. The album opener and lead single ‘Never Wanted That (ft. Asta)’ is the most accessible track in Yeo’s discography, giving off serious ‘One Dance’ vibes, due to the jangly percussion and intricate horns. While this is Yeo’s effort at a radio-friendly tune, he reverts to the underground on the deep cut ‘Leavin’, infusing an atmospheric house influence. The Fractures partnership, ‘Chasing Shadows’, is the standout of Desire Path, marrying the pop and electronic elements flawlessly.

Although it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Ganbaru, Desire Path is Yeo’s most cohesive body of work. There’s no immediate classics, like Ganbaru cuts ‘Icarus’ and ‘Quiet Achiever’, but Desire Path still has many striking moments of its own. The one element of Yeo’s music that will never disappoint is his skilful production, exemplified through the sophisticated warping electronic soundscape of Desire Path.

Rating: 7/10

Highlight: ‘Chasing Shadows (ft. Fractures)’

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