The Yawpers are the sheep in wolfs clothing.|
Through their first three albums, the group divined a signature stylewhat Pitchfork described as an expansive vision of rock n roll, one that cherrypicks from various folk traditions: punk, rockabilly, blues, whatever they might have on hand or find in the trash. The sound is a front-heavy, groovy, fire & brimstone punk-blues overlying a dynamic and metaphysical roots rock. On their fourth album Human Question, the Denver trio zooms out to a more vast and accessible stylistic and spiritual universe. The 38-minute thrill ride generates growth and cathartic self-reflection for audience and performer alike. If there was justice in this world, the Yawpers would be the savior that rock-n-roll didnt know it was waiting for.
Following their critically acclaimed and meticulously plotted concept album Boy in a Well (set in World War I France, concerning a mother who abandoned her unwanted newborn), the Yawpers created Human Question with a contrasting immediacy. The album was written, rehearsed, and recorded over a two-month period with Reliable Recordings Alex Hall (Cactus Blossoms, JD McPherson) at Chicagos renowned Electrical Audio. The band tracked live in one room, feeding off the collective energy and adding few overdubs. Through the new approach, ten songs connect with an organically linked attitude and style.
On Human Question, lead singer and guitarist Nate Cook writes his way out of trauma, rather than wallowing in it, as was his self-destructive formula in the past. I wanted to take a crack at using these songs as therapy, really, Cook said. I think Ive always been inclined to write more towards the dregs of my psyche, and explore my depressions and trauma, rather than describe a way out. The self-reflection engages the bands trademark dangerous, emotionally fraught choogle, and the listener is constantly kept on edge, not knowing when to brace for a bombastic impact or lean back and enjoy the ride.
The band skillfully balances that Jekyll and Hyde formula. In Child of Mercy guitarist Jesse Parmet revs the engines with a disintegrating blues guitar framework, backed by a breakneck beat by new drummer Alex Koshak. Eventually, the tune whips into a cyclone of distortion and Cooks sustained falsetto, as he howls, Wont you please wake me up when the night is over. For such a raw and kinetic sound, the Yawpers are never stuck in one gear for long. They deftly navigate shifting dynamics and moods, and if you squint your ears, the Sun Studios Million Dollar Quartet, transmogrifies into the ghosts of Gun Club, Jon Spencer, and Bo Diddley.
Dancing on my Knees is the direction that Dan Auerbach couldve taken Black Keys: raw yet poppy, outsider while mainstream, danceable while thought-provoking (lyrics include It wasnt what I asked for / But its exactly what I need / Youve said theres growth in agony / And we finally agree). There are moments of blunt Stooges raw power (Earn Your Heaven), shaker rhythms behind 70s psychedelic rock (Human Question), and the salacious boogie of Zeppelin (Forgiveness Through Pain). Through it all, Human Question is impossible to confuse with anything elseits distinctly the Yawpers.
Man As Ghost, Cant Wait, and Where the Winters End reveal a softer and contemplative side, blending touches of modern Americana and folk music. In these moments of sonic respite, Cook and company display their range through acoustic guitar strums, relaxed and aired-out tempos, and big yet dialed-in vocal runs. But, no song exhibits the bands extended capabilities like Carry Me, a Gospel-soul burner that builds from hushed to impassioned, with the lead singer begging for salvation in full open-throated fervor by songs end.
Human Question isnt meant for the meek or casual listener. It will make you dance, mosh, sing along, and dig deep into your soul. Some people lament that rock-n-roll is dead. They just havent heard the Yawpers yet.
"The best scuzzy rock'n'roll bands make it look easy, but it isn't. Every now and then, you hear a slab of garage punk like the Hussy's "EZ/PZ". In the song's opening two seconds, the Madison duo establish dominance with nine fast, fuzzed out strums. Sure, the percussion smacks hard as soon as it hones into view, but it's instantly clear just how powerful a track like this can be when it's built around a no-frills blues riff. Heather Hussy's vocal work is dynamicthe perfect foil to the track's instrumental barrage, with no need to lean on some flashy guitar solo. The power here is in speed and volume; with a solid "WOO!" at the finish, they're all set." PITCHFORK
"Madison's King and Queen of Trash Rock"
"Blame" opens Pagan Hiss-- their third album-- with proof that a power duo pegged with words like "psych," "garage," or "punk" don't have to rely solely on caveman stomping or fuzzed out guitars. Sure, there's menace behind Bobby's power chords, and Heather definitely knows how to bash, but there's nuance here. They mess around with a few different guitar textures, vary up their volume for dramatic effect, and line the whole track with sonics worthy of an old sci-fi or horror movie (like the echoing laughter in the intro or the various UFO-worthy effects)."
"Kicks in the face. Guitars on fire. Catchy psychedelic punk that shakes you. Madison duo the Hussy is getting so good at what it does it may not stay underground for long."
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
The Shitty Barn (View)
506 East Madison
Spring Green, WI 53588
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|