Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Sometimes you can just tell when a band is a cut above. That means that if The Yawpers were a quarterback, they would be elite with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. It’s hard to articulate exactly what makes a band elite, but it has something to do with the great singing, great playing, and just a tightness and chemistry that is palpable. The Yawpers have got it going on.
The Yawpers are hard to pin down with a genre. They can be a very sweet acoustic band, but they can also bust out the noise as good as anyone. The difference is, The Yawpers use noise as another instrument and they pick their spots wisely. They can be a surf punk band, a noise band, or a country band. Sometimes that is all in the same song. They have versatility along with uber talent. Granted, this album may not be everyone. Those with poor musical taste, please disregard everything you read.
The Yawpers formed in 2011 when Jesse Parmet and Nate Cook played together in Boulder, CO. They added a drummer (Noah Shomberg) and the trio was born. The band derived its name from a Walt Whitman line in Leaves of Grass. “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” So these guys are also articulate and well read. A dangerous combination for sure.
Boy In A Well is the Yawper’s third album and is set in World War I France about a mother abandoning her unwanted newborn child. Nate Cook came up with this theme during a binge which included alcohol, Dramamine, and an airplane flight. That could be the makings of a song or album right there.
This album was produced by Tommy Stinson of The Replacements and Bash & Pop. This is a very heavy themed album. I don’t like the term “concept album” because every album or collection of music requires a concept. Concept album is like saying automated teller machine (ATM) machine.
This album evokes emotions of sadness, fear, and jubilation. The garage feel to a lot of the album is quite nice. A little retro, a little current. Nothing could represent my observations more than Mon Dieu (Track 5). This song is psychobilly mixed with alternative. The melding of The Cramps and The Feelies on this high energy number. Mon Dieu translates as “My God” in English. After you listen to this song, you will agree: that is a good title.
Another really nice track is also in French, Mon Nom (Track 7). This song translates as My Name in English. This is a bluesy and dirgy masterpiece. There is a really nice vintage feel to it. The vocals tell everyone that this is not vintage but current. Nate Cook’s vocals are super strong and unmistakable.
Boy In A Well is a perfect mixture of country, blues, and terror. But don’t let that deter you, it is a masterpiece. They beautifully weave noisy punk, blues, and country to create something quite unique and genre bending. Everyone needs a good bender now and again.