The Yawpers’ latest finds the raucous Denver trio playing it a bit against the beery roots-rock type, instead presenting (of all things) a song cycle concerning a mother who has given up her unwanted newborn in World War I France.
As an organizing device, that’s all well and good – ambitious, even – but the accomplishment here is an astonishing and at times wonderfully demented slab of skillfully updated Americana.
Recorded by Chicago-based engineer Alex Hall (Pokey LaFarge, J.D. McPherson) with an assist from Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, the album veers from ghostly, unsettling opener “Armistice Day” to pompadoured reverb-y surf cinema “Linen For The Orphan” to the blissed-out, girl-group-evoking pop of closer “Reunion,” whose one-note piano reprises the opener’s echoing bottom-of-the-well keys. In between, there’s plenty of scuzzy retro garage, R&B, and rockabilly.
Nate Cook covers a range of vocal emotions while drummer Noah Palmer and talented guitarist Jesse Parmet adapt deftly to any situation, creating soundscapes that haunt and rollick, as if David Lynch and Harry Smith conspired to create the soundtrack to weird ol’ America.
This article originally appeared in VG December 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.