Photo Credits: Amazon
Based in Los Angeles, indie-pop project Yoke Lore has released his debut album, Toward A Never Ending New Beginning. The album was brought to us by Yell House Records and Thirty Tigers, released on September 22. An introspective project, Toward A Never Ending New Beginning chronicles his journey of personal growth, turning strengths into weaknesses, and discovering who Yoke Lore really is.
1. Cruciform I
4. Test Tube Messiah
9. Holy Havoc
13. Cruciform II
Yoke Lore is the solo music project of multi-instrumentalist Adrian Galvin. He has become a prolific artist since his 2016 EP debut, Far Shore. Singles like “Goodpain,” “Beige,” and “Chin Up” have given Yoke Lore much success, earning him an RIAA Gold certification. He has garnered over 450M streams and has become quite the live act, opening for artists like Bastille, Bishop Briggs, Mt. Joy, and Goth Babe. The artist has been consistently releasing EPs and singles for years, finally giving fans a full-length album with Toward A Never Ending New Beginning. Well worth the wait, Yoke Lore moves in an interesting direction with the album. The artist feels his album is guided by the principles of the I-Ching—an ancient Chinese divination text that outlines the 64 transitions someone could be going through at any time and reflects this in the form of hexagrams. Toward A Never Ending New Beginning is a reflection of all the little changes Yoke Lore has gone through in his life, sharing moments of celebration, sadness, and stillness.
“Cruciform I” serves as the album’s introduction, starting us off with an ethereal soundscape that sets the mood for the rest of Toward A Never Ending New Beginning. The short track is filled with dreamy synth lines, light vocals, and soft guitar strums. Soon after, the album transitions to the folk-pop track, “Softly.” The song draws us in with twangy banjo riffs, beginning gently until exploding into a delightfully stunning chorus.
Getting lost in an all-out indie-pop sound, “Shake” immerses us in a synth-laden soundscape and bouncy pop beats. The track represents disrupting repetitiveness and routine in our lives, stating that “You gotta find time to shake.” Prior to the album’s release, “Shake” was released as a single, giving a glimpse into Toward A Never Ending New Beginning’s sound and overall message. Yoke Lore provided insight on the song’s meaning, stating, “‘Shake’ is a dedication, a declaration, and a demonstration. It is a dialogue between me and the world. I wrote this at a time when I felt isolated by my own sluggish trepidation. One day as I was laying in a pool of sweaty lethargic shame, I came across an ancient Chinese oracle called the I-Ching or Book of Change. I threw some coins and divined a hexagram made up of six stacked lines. It was called Zhen or Shake or Shock. It told me that I was at an inflection point. It demanded that I shake myself up out of the malaise or things would go septic. We all go through periods of stale stagnation. Our bodies and our lives have to be lived in motion. If we stay the same, we fail to grow, we get brittle in the body, we get stubborn in the mind, we go blind in the heart. By embracing the flux inherent in our nature, we can find some harmony. Shake yourself out of the torpor and toward a never ending new beginning.”
Slowing things down again, “Test Tube Messiah” comes next with soft, sweet vocals and gentle guitar riffs. The track brings back that ethereal sound, making us feel like we’re floating through a dream. Going with the natural ebb and flow of the album, “Hallucinate” picks the pace up again and pushes us in an upbeat, indie-pop direction. The track tackles the intricacies of falling in love, addressing some of the uncertainty and heartbreak that happens along the way. “Jump/Fall” continues in a similar vein as Yoke Lore seems to be addressing a lover. The synth heavy track certainly has us falling, surrounding us with a familiar, dreamy soundscape that we’ve grown to know and love. Taking us back to a soft, folk-pop sound, “Shape” gives Toward A Never Ending New Beginning a captivating, subdued ballad. The light track features folksy banjo lines, flowing guitar strums, and Yoke Lore’s exposed vocals. Scaled back and raw, “Shape” provides a truly vulnerable moment on the album before returning to Yoke Lore’s fuller sounds.
While “Shape” seemed like the calm before the storm, “Enough” tosses us right back into the deep end with its explosive sound. The track is one of the most relatable on the album, exploring the fear of messing up a good thing. “Enough” features infectious pop beats, lots of synth, and delicious hooks, all leading into huge, powerful choruses filled with intense emotions. “Holy Havoc” chills the mood out a bit, moving the album in a more laid-back direction. The track features relaxed beats and mellow melodies, making it perfect to just sit back and groove to. Keeping things calm, “Alone” is another laid-back track that inspires hope. The track features a positive message, reminding us that we’re never alone even if we feel that way.
Another vulnerable, soft ballad, “Fight” is a swoon worthy number about fighting for love. Yoke Lore sings lines like “I’ll fight for your love ‘til the day I die” and “I threw all my wealth into the fountain of your eyes and prayed for a kiss,” showcasing his uncanny ability to create poetic lines that make us wish we were the object of his affection. Turning back to an upbeat folk-pop sound, “Winona” comes next, bouncing between light verses and fiery choruses. The track starts with flowing banjo lines and soft vocals, leading up to powerful choruses that make you want to scream along with Yoke Lore. Serving as a last-minute interlude, “Cruciform II” comes in as the second to last song. The track is short like “Cruciform I” and brings back that ethereal, dreamy sound. Ending on a positive note, “Protégé” is a mid-tempo ballad that looks toward an optimistic future. The synth-laden track is hope incarnate, leaving us to reflect on what our futures could hold.
Though there are some heavy feelings on the album, Yoke Lore handles them with a lightness that makes every song easy to listen to. There are moments on Toward A Never Ending New Beginning that harken back to some of the artist’s previous hits, like “Beige” and “Goodpain,” simultaneously keeping fans rooted in their favorite sounds while moving in a new direction. After waiting patiently for Yoke Lore’s first full length album, Toward A Never Ending New Beginning did not disappoint. The album contains some of Yoke Lore’s most captivating sounds yet, exquisitely balancing soft, delicate folk-pop moments with impactful, vibrant indie-pop. Compelling and addictive, Toward A Never Ending New Beginning leaves us excited for what’s next and keeps pulling us back in for more.
Written By Cheyenne Johnson
*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.