Geoffrey Pye is a relatively new addition to the Montreal scene, but has been performing as Yellow Jacket Avenger since 1992, and has put out nearly 20 albums of experimental rock, electro pop, psychfolk and everything in between. As Toronto’s Wavelength put it, “The Avenger seems to wear many hats: sometimes he is the sensitive guitar-wielding singer, and other times he is the pensive, arty, scantily-clad electronic composer. You never know what you’re going to get when the Avenger drops by”.
Pye is a “song-writer” and likely will always be; his relationship with music is personal, obsessive and mutually chaotic, but ultimately, a rewarding experience for all. The Avenger has worked with several “well-knowns” in his musical history, including Joel Plaskett, who produced his single “Becoming a Silhouette/Holding Ghosts”, Woodenstars, Hilotrons (who covered Pye’s 2006 song “Emergency”), Julie Doiron, and members of Arcade Fire and Godspeed! you Black Emperor. In truth however, most of Pye’s work is produced alone, as composing is a therapeutic process and an “emotional bubble bath.”
Shortly after arriving in Montreal last winter, Yellow Jacket Avenger put out his third release in two years. Branden Town is a beautifully constructed poly-rhythmic pop album, paced by contemplative acoustic ballads. Analog manipulations, drums and pianos are paired with live bass and guitar behind Pye’s odd tenor narrative. Featured throughout the album is the soprano voice of Tessa Kautzman, who has now become a permanent member of Yellow Jacket Avenger’s latest line up. The four piece group, consisting of Pye and Kautzman, as well as veteran musicians Jeffrey Malecki (The Acorn, The Moment) and Justin Karas (Fall Horsie), have been reconstructing Branden Town’s quirky, semi-electronic tunes into heavy organic grooves that make sense in a live setting. Watch out for them in Montreal.
Yellow Jacket Avenger is planning yet another release for 2014, consisting of studio and live tracks. Contact Geoffrey Pye at email@example.com.
“Behind all of the well-manipulated old machines, the austere perfection of synthesized sound, is a tender-hearted creature with a penchant for touching melody. The backing track could be Bjork’s and the bridge’s vocal David Byrne’s, but there’s also Peter Gabriel here – an unabashed, if otherworldly, sap.” –Said the Gramophone, 2010
“…there are gems all over in his scattershot releases, single tracks worth the price of admission anytime.” –Herohill, 2011
“Cult hero Geoffrey Pye possesses a unique songwriting mind and with Double Nature, the former Halifax resident puts his timeless weirdo aesthetic to the test with vividly flying colours. Echoes of David Bowie and Talking Heads float through Yellow Jacket Avenger’s melding of acoustic and synthetic sounds, but his electro-folk is earnestly his own, not some kitschy throwback.” –Exclaim, 2008