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Salve
Artist: Yogi
Tracks/Time: 8 Tracks / 40:33
Label: Wonky (www.wonky.net)

Sample: "Owe You

I don’t like cover songs.  I absolutely hate remixes.  And I generally don’t care for EPs, mainly because they inevitably consist of cover songs and remixes.  But Yogi’s first effort, Any Raw Flesh?, which sounded like a blend of King’s X and Rush from someone who watches Star Wars way too much, was one of my top five picks for 2001.  That impressed me enough to purchase his recent EP, Salve, despite the fact that, of the eight songs on Salve, one is a cover, two are remixes and one is a remix of the same cover.

Shawn Farley (a.k.a. Yogi) does absolutely brilliant work with both of his interpretations of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” a progressive song in its own right.  For listeners who will buy an album just for one or two songs, Salve is money well spent; plus it’s at an EP price.

He also remixes two great songs from Any Raw Flesh?, those being “Firefly” and “My Love for Lois Is Real.”  Both are acoustic versions of the original.  They fail for three reasons.  First, the originals are so good that improvement was an overly ambitious project to begin with.  Second, it’s just Farley with an acoustic guitar (and minimal acoustic bass in “Firefly”).  No bongos.  Nothing else.  The complexity that made “Firefly” such an interesting song is lost in this version.  Third, Farley’s voice offers its strongest contribution as part of a mix.  It doesn’t work standing alone with a single guitar.  It’s like eating the freshest cilantro straight.

Of the four original songs on _Salve_, I found “Owe You” the strongest by far.  The first two and a half minutes are a steady head-bobber, then the song shifts into ambience and a searing guitar solo with tight bass accompaniment for a one minute break before resuming the initial ideas.  Nice work indeed.  But the other originals are a little slow for my taste.  The best things about Salve are that it made me put Any Raw Flesh? back in my CD player and it shows that Yogi is still making good original music.  But I’ll probably pass on any more remixes of songs he has already released.

Dan Singleton 6/27/2003

Discovering Yogi was one of the happy word-of-mouth accidents that came about because of the internet.  Since Yogi (Shawn Farley) and I are both King’s X fans, we are on some of the same music discussion boards.  After repeatedly hearing from other people how amazing his first album, Any Raw Flesh? was, I decided to check him out.

_Salve_ is the EP follow up to that album.  It contains four new tunes, two acoustic remixes of songs from the first album, and two new versions of a Beatles classic, “Tomorrow Never Knows”.  The remixes are the two most popular songs from Any Raw Flesh? ­ “Firefly” and “My Love for Lois is Real.”   Both of them show Farley’s ability to make the transition from electric to unplugged ­ neither song suffers by being stripped down.

The new tracks are up to the same standard.  “Sleeping” seems to portray a general malaise, in wishing the days would return to the ease of the past: 

I’m sleeping with my eyes wide open
And I wonder where my time’s gone
Every dream I ever had is broken
And I can’t seem to find today.
“My Dismay” is a tale of a failed romance, while “The Ending” may be a continuation of the same thought.  “Owe You” details a betrayal of some sorts, a tale of having helped someone, then having that person take advantage.  All of the music here reveals some influences of Yogi: King’s X, Mike Keneally, Extreme, and The Beatles.  Bryan Beller as a bass player rivals Doug Pinnick in the “how long can you go?” game.

Hearing Salve makes me long for two things: 1) The next full length project by Farley and company; and 2) that King’s X would grab Yogi as the opener for their next tour.  If any major labels still employ talent scouts, this would be their next big signing.

Brian A. Smith 14 July 2003

   
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