Release Date: December 2, 2012
1. Jesus Car
2. Heart On a String
3. Angel Wings
As a blogger, it’s not uncommon to receive emails from all kinds of sources from PR firms, record labels (both major and indie), to direct contact from bands and artists. And although it can be admittedly overwhelming – imagine receiving about 100 emails a day and at least a third of them are coming from someone you’ve never heard of until then – it’s also one of the most exciting parts of my day. A couple of months ago, I received an email from the Yawpers, a Boulder, CO-based quarter whose name comes from a line of a Walt Whitman poem in which he promises to “sound his barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.”
From listening to the EP, the band specializes in a gritty Americana/country-tinged indie rock along the lines of Ryan Adams, Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones, but the compositions themselves are sadly not terribly inventive or original. The backing band of Parmet, Hale and Romano play with the intensity and energy I’d imagine I would hear if I had caught the Yawpers live at a downtown dive bar. Unsurprisingly, they’ve probably won over some folks through their sounds intensity of purpose – but intensity of purpose doesn’t hide the fact that sadly, they sound a lot like the countless bands that have dabbled with country twang. And yet oddly enough, the album’s best and most convincing song is “Jesus Car,” which equates Jesus Christ to an awesome hot rod. I suspect it’s because the song doesn’t do more than attempt to be a cool ass song, and for the most part it succeeds.
Lead vocalist Nate Cook’s lyrics throughout the album are clichéd ridden – sometimes to the point of being groan inducing. “Angel Wings,” makes a specific reference to the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses,” as part of its chorus and it feels unnecessary. “Heart on a String,” makes a clumsy attempt at novelistic detail and badass swaggering that at best feels kind of empty. There are several lines including one that describes how a character enjoys setting houses on fire, and it’s groan inducing. At times, the songs feel as though Cook is more worried about trying to be a profound, serious singer/songwriter than writing something that was truthful from his viewpoint. That’s not to say that clichés aren’t useful or that there isn’t anything we can get from them; in fact, they can be forgiven when they come from a sincere, earnest place – but when they seem contrived and as though the songwriter was trying way too hard to come up with something to say, it’s a creative sin. It’s a quite a shame, really.