The Revolt Against Tired Noises by Yawning ManRelease date: July 6, 2018
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
A new album of blissfully desert-scorched jams from Gary Arce, Mario Lalli and Bill Stinson. If you’re familiar with the band’s early work (Pot Head, Rock Formations, Vista Point…) that belatedly found its way out of the Palm Desert, you’ll know roughly what’s going on here, smoothly intertwining, laid back but far-reaching riff untanglings though with more layers and a cleaner sound than some of the demo-feel on the aforementioned. I put this album on when driving home after a concert of Indian ragas on veena, and it made perfect sense, a sort of Far West themes-and-variations harmonic extemporisation.
As an unreconstructed Kyuss troglodyte, the blissfully jangling, gliding-into-roaring-heaviness track ‘Catamaran’ stomped heavy on my teenage years, and for a long time Yawning Man was a mythical object for which the only earthly evidence was the note in the sleeve of And the Circus Leaves Town that marked ‘Catamaran’ as a cover version. So I’ll admit that I headed straight for that track when I got a hold of this promo, eager to hear the sort of cover of a cover, seemingly the first proper recording of this track by its originators (though a hissy demo has been around on YouTube for a while). While the Kyuss version by now to me sounds definitive, it’s great to hear a decent Yawning Man version, with that scudding bass and sunrise-peeping guitar interplay totally affirmed as definitively authored by this band.
There’s even an almost formalistic quality to some pieces, like opener ‘Black Kite’ going around the permutations and combinations- a satisfying inevitability matched with liberating virtuosity. Those guitars… eternally chiming like a prism in a sun-swelling sky. The drums can just occasionally feel a little heavy-handed, especially in relation to the freeflowing guitar lines, glistening with a shimmer of distortion. The percussion on ‘Skyline Pressure’ can be a little lumpy, though this could be an attempt to anchor the music in a slightly heavier idiom than might be implied by the bluesy jams otherwise, or, as on ‘Ghost Beach’ where bass and drums pair in a revolving du-dum du-dum du-dum pattern, an underscoring of the terrestrial so as to point to the guitar comets streaking across the sky. That bass is supremely confident and audacious as well as being solid with a hint of funk, especially on ‘Misfortune Cookies’ under a more delicate twinkling of guitar, and with only the two shortest tracks with vocals on, the rest of the record really leaves it to the guitar and bass to work together, but its work as the outcome of a decades-honed telepathy that comes over as an effortless joy to hear.