While the majority of Austin was prepping their outfits the night before Fun Fun Fun Fest or praying for another shot at a BCS title game, a small but interested group of music lovers descended on Emo's inside stage to take in the sights and sounds of lo-fi rock 'n' roll from a duo of their peers, Yellow Fever. The Austin-based act were back in town playing in support of Pit Er Pat after what seemed to be a successful if not ambitious tour throughout most of October.
With a crowd as unassuming as their music, Yellow Fever kick started their set with an oddly subdued energy that embodied no trace of boredom or lack of pathos. Showcasing a voice that landed her spots in both Voxtrot and personal favorites The Carrots, guitarist Jennifer Moore's vocals floated out through the room with soft conviction as her band mate, drummer Adam Jones, supplied the beats for a set comprised of what can be called, without any hint at irony or pun, a deadly infectious sound.
Breezing through tracks from the couple EPs they've got to their name, Moore and Jones produced an easy show that got the continually expanding crowd shaking their hips. With tracks like "Hellfire" and "Culver City" they managed to create melody and catchiness from subdued tone and simple yet effective percussion. The symbiotic nature of Moore's voice and guitar are all at once soft and mousy yet self-assured, and her choice in melodic progression is simplistic while still innovative. In other words, one might be drawn in by the charming minimalism of Yellow Fever.
The headcount in the band completely betrays the fullness of their sound, and it isn't until you pay closer attention to Jones' duties that you'll come to realize one of the more charming traits of their live show. While managing to keep perfect time with a style that holds steadfast to what I like to call the Starkey-Method (drum for music's sake), as well as adding backing vocals, Jones also toys with a synthesizer laid atop his kick drum. Between every other hit there might be a new note pressed for bass accentuation, or a melody might be played along with Moore's guitar, as one drumstick strikes high-hat and snare at once. Again, it is all done to achieve a simplistic sound, but is done in a well oiled-yet-complicated way.
Normally one can grow tired of minimalist rock, as the constraints of the genre limit the sound to a continuous loop of retread. Yellow Fever doesn't seem to mind and those who listen might be able to catch on to just why that is. They seem to have everything right where they want it and are producing solid, catchy tunes in the process. Keep an ear out for the future.