It’s not at all unusual in this topsy turvy world of rock and roll for bands to take years to produce a new album, the modern world meaning that very few musicians, especially in the underground, can keep body and soul together with the old formula of tour, record, release, and tour that was the life of the professional musician for so many years before the advent of this electronic platform you are currently reading changed the game. Contrary to that, Yawning Man have apparently accelerated their output, following up 2018’s rather excellent ‘The Revolt Against Tired Noises’ with a new label, and a new album ‘Macedonian Lines’, a release schedule that seems almost impolitely rushed compared to their previous laid back release schedule. I promise you, however, absolutely nothing is rushed or unseemly in the music.
After a brief prior dalliance with vocals, the trio of Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, and Bill Stinson return to what they are truly best at, treating the listener to instrumental tracks that both soothe the fevered brow whilst squeegeeing the third eye clean. ‘Virtual Funeral’ starts this parade of cool in a suitably mellow fashion, Stinson’s drums being looping and hypnotic, providing the perfect sonic backdrop for Mssrs. Arce and Lalli to lull the listener into a state of relaxation that requires no chemical enhancement to enjoy, my beverage of choice as I type this review to their music being nothing more than a nice cup of tea. Title track ‘Macedonian Lines’ comes next, drifting from the speakers with all the urgency of smoke curling towards the sky from the glowing bowl of a hookah as Yawning Man continue their journey through the astral plane, the pace becoming even more psychedelic with ‘Melancholy Sadie’, a delicate, complex composition where each instrument somehow takes a lead without overpowering the other, and with just three members of the band, it would be a wonder to see reproduced live. I can only imagine banks of pedals that would make Mike Scheidt of YOB say “damn!”
The blissed out, echoing sounds of the desert rock scene that the band emerged from come to the fore in the melancholia of ‘Bowie’s Last Breath’, and are even more apparent in ‘I’m Not A Real Indian (But I Play One On TV)’, a track that deserves applause not only for the length of its title, but its skill in execution, all before the album closes with its longest, and most ambitious track, ‘I Make Weird Choices’, a seven and a half minute journey that travels through time from the summer of love to the modern day, taking in along the way the influences of a loose Grateful Dead jam, the Prog rock virtuosity of Pink Floyd from their early experimental heyday, all before ending far too soon in 2019. Whilst little over half an hour long, the music of ‘Macedonian Lines’ is both over far too soon, demanding, in the most chilled out way possible of course, to be played again immediately, whilst seeming timeless.
Go to their website, and you will see that coming up Yawning Man have a host of dates taking them across the UK and Europe through June and July 2019, with doubtless more to come around the globe. If the music they produce live is even half as good as it is recorded, and with their skill and pedigree I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t be, they should be shows well worth getting to, and I can only urge you keep Yawning Man’s momentum going by getting to those shows and sharing in their love.