Basics: Phoenix foursome Snow Songs features the versatile Yolanda Bejarano as their lead singer, and it's damn near impossible to not to mention Bejarano when discussing the band. She is one of the strongest presences I have come across in my time with YAFI and she even sings in Spanish (!). It's rare to see a lead singer carry a band as much as Bejarano does, but when something like that happens, it's fantastic.
Snow Songs' seven-song album For When It's Sunny Out manages to show the band's soft side more often than not. However, it's when the band kicks it up a notch and pumps out the jams, as the kids say, that they are at their best.
Best Song: "Everything Ends," as the album's third track, creates a stunning momentum for the band. It finds Bejarano's vocals at their best while the band manages to find a very grunge-centric sound. The song is a scatterbrained, brilliant piece of work that pulls no punches and is unabashedly raucous. It's easy to hear the band having fun on the song, and that fun is effortless. "Everything Ends" is in a dead heat with "Magical Radical" for best song on the album, yet it manages to pull ahead by just a nose.
Worst Song: I don't know why the band chose to follow up "Everything Ends" with the toned down, mellow offering "London." Any and all momentum the album has goes straight out the window. "London" comes off as a tragic attempt at some country ballad, drowning Bejarano's vocals in a most unfortunate way. "Everything Ends" and "Magical Radical" let Bejarano's vocals stay out as late as they want, if you will, having as much fun as possible. "London" sets a lame 8:30 pm curfew.
Suggestions: "Loteria" and "Ultima Vez" are both, you guessed it, entirely in Spanish. This isn't so much a suggestion as more of a compliment in keeping the maximum songs in a foreign language at two. I personally have no problem with it. However, other less accepting people might not want to hear as much. I would also suggest bumping "London" down a few spots on the album - perhaps even in the final spot.
If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:
Michael Lopez You Asked For It c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85034