Wednesday, 26 June 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Yawning Man, ‘Macedonian Lines’

By: Andrew Field

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/06/2019
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds

What you have here is sublimely crafted and utterly beautiful musical moments which don’t outstay their welcome and leave you wanting more.

‘Macedonian Lines’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Virtual Funeral
2. Macedonian Lines
3. Melancholy Sadie
4. Bowie's Last Breath
5. I'm Not An Indian (But I Play One On TV)
6. I Make Weird Choices

The Review:

It has often been said that bands who stick around forever eventually lose some or all of their creative pulse and start churning out music of ever-decreasing relevance and quality. That claim can be laid at the feet of so many acts: from the Rolling Stones to Helmet and Aerosmith to Metallica. Those groups might remain incendiary in a live setting but let’s be honest – when was the last time you listened toA Bigger Bang”, “Dead to The World”, “Music from Another Dimension” orHardwired…. To Self-Destruct?”

Kudos then to Yawning Man for turning that theory on its head by brewing up their best works thirty-odd years into their musical journey. Those generator parties outside La Quinta in the Californian desert in the mid-1980s must feel like a long time ago to sonic travellers Mario Lalli and Garcy Arce, but the spirit of those events can still be found deep within the grooves ofMacedonian Lines”.

If their stunning 2016 third album “Historical Graffiti” started a purple patch, last year’s “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” consolidated their reputation as masters of their art. Ambient and achingly melancholy, it tingled and shone and soared and sounded like heaven. Macedonian Lines” wisely doesn’t try to trump it. There was no point them trying: nothing will ever better “Black Kite” which opened that 2018 opus.

On this new record the trio take their “less is more” approach one step further: from the flab-free 31-minute running time to the effortless ease with which these six tracks roll and undulate without any unnecessary excess. Whilst all the Yawning Man trademarks are present and correct, Macedonian Lines” belongs to four-stringer Mario Lalli. His bass owns this album, underpinning everything. On seven-minute opening cut “Virtual Funeral” Gary Arce’s instantly familiar guitar progressions are anchored by Lalli’s fat, fuzzed bassline and from there on his presence dominates the album’s sound.

The title track reeks of wide-open spaces and is pure musical cinema, whilst “Melancholy Sadie”’s echo-drenched sweet gloop of multi-tracked, picked guitar notes builds into a thick and filling sonic melange. An album highlight is “I’m Not A Real Indian”’s elegiac final 50-second sprint, which motors along and will sound fantastic this summer with the top down on a mid-American highway. It’s the kind of musical moment you don’t ever want to end.

They leave the best to last. Final cut “I Make Weird Choices” is a monster, gliding along until it’s explosive coda before fading into an unassuming close which neatly defines everything that’s great about Yawning Man. Lalli’s rumbling, guttural bass is the perfect counterpoint to Arce’s lush soloing, with Bill Stinson’s subtle drum work giving both of them acres of room to breathe. No showing off, just sublimely crafted and utterly beautiful musical moments which don’t outstay their welcome and leave you wanting more.

When Macedonian Lines” ends, all you want to do is listen to more Yawning Man because nothing else will do. And that is why this defining, vital band is as important today as it was way back in 1986. Long may they reign.

‘Macedonian Lines’ is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook