The Yoko Theory ignites

Hailing from Palm Beach, the band The Yoko Theory has garnered much attention in the local music scene, playing a steady series of shows at Dada’s in Delray Beach and at The Lounge in West Palm Beach. The release of the band’s first CD, Stereopathic, embodies the months of constant gigging, hard work, and experimentation.

Built on a foundation of acid jazz and dub reggae, the 20-track Stereopathic pulls from a multitude of styles. It produces more moments of` pure surreal emotion than a gallery showing of paintings by Dali or Rene Magrite. Singer/guitarist Henri Lemaire demonstrates a uniquely mature sense of melody and phrasing on the vocal tracks, supplemented occasionally by guest artists interjecting an authentic Caribbean influence.

The opening track of the album is reminiscent of the sublime song, “Smoke Two Joints” and comes across as a tad bit clichí©. The album picks up quickly, navigating the listener into the first of its dreamscapes.

“The Classics” is a sweet keyboard driven melody with a flowing feel similar to that of the Beatles “Strawberry Fields” or the modern retrospective approach of Beck. The vocals produce a nonsensical series of events in time, highlighted by a phrase containing the words “holding out pictures like Hitler, got to have time to think…put it in a box and drop it out.” The message alluded to in the reflection of the classics is not immediately obvious but is thought provoking enough to grab hold of the listener’s attention.

“The Meds” starts out as a 15 second jazz interlude that unexpectedly segues into a reggae song of sorts. Complete with a gong and harmonica solo, the song is a vehicle between a vacation on the island of Jamaica and a gondola ride in Venice, Italy.

“Spectrum” pulses from a subdued bass line, accented by a heavily picked out guitar line and interjected keyboard swells. The feel of the song is dark, like waking up unwillingly in an episode of the Mood shifts are attained by breaks featuring swanky trombone lines by the multi-talented Nathan Farnham.

The track “Don’t Run” lives up to its intro sample that states, “it’s the full moon, it brings everybody out, they go wild,” depicting a creature double-feature view of evening affairs in its approach. This song also contains a verbal barrage by rapper Que, whose mic control flows as well as any Bad Boy or Ruff Ryder. Que’s statement, “Don’t run it does you no good cause now-a-days the battlefield is synonymous with the hood” by far outweighs any remedial “popping Moet and rolling on 20’s” rhyme.

Stereopathic maintains a superior level of craftsmanship in all of its detail. Even the instrumental songs achieve a level of integrity that most bands won’t attain with years of trial and error. The only problem that The Yoko Theory may encounter is that their style of music is so intellectually elite that the general public might not understand.