Pet Yeti are a unique voice on the UK bluegrass and roots music scene. Comprising 5 of the most accomplished bluegrass musicians in the British Isles (featuring members of Cup O’Joe, Cardboard Fox and Hot Rock Pilgrims) Pet Yeti blend heartfelt yet jovial songwriting with instrumental dexterity and prowess on their debut album Space Guitars which is available to download September 13th with a release tour to follow in December.
Taking inspiration from the likes of Bill Monroe (the father of bluegrass) and modern string quintets like Punch Brothers and The Deadly Gentlemen, they also divert the genre to include what you might affectionately call “guilty pleasures” in addition to the bluegrass standards and thoughtful originals.This is illustrated on track 1 of Space Guitars which kicks off with a cover of Michael Bolton’s 1993 hit single Said I Loved You... But I Lied, a song Joe Tozer (mandolin) heard on the radio in the shower a week before they were due in the recording studio.
The guilty pleasure factor is enforced again by the title track of the album, Space Guitars, written by Tozer and inspired by the film Back To The Future.
Their songwriting also allows for a few sly pops at their own genre. Carefully crafted modern bluegrass lyrics oftentimes come off cliche accidentally, so to avoid this Pet Yeti steer into the cliche and embrace it in a way only a British bluegrass band can. This is showcased perfectly in the song Drinking Since the Day I Was Born, in which a classic drinking song is set through the lens of a terrible hangover.
Originals such as Long Road and Time Goes On provide a nostalgic pause from the bluegrass cannon, with intricate melodic twists and turns and lush harmonies from Benjamin & Reuben Agnew, whos vocals blend the way only siblings’ voices can. There is plenty here for listeners on the look-out for breakneck, explosive bluegrass though. The underdone standard Hello City Limits, bursts through early on during the album and is followed by Charlie Work - one of two instrumentals - a funky little fiddle tune, written by Kieran Towers, about huffing glue and killing rats. The other instrumental being John Breese’s Pocket Full Of Weetabix, a plucky banjo tune with possibly THE BEST guitar solo you’ve never heard.