Given that I have put these guys on in Edinburgh recently, and given that this album is comfortably in my top 20 for 2012, you’d think I’d have reviewed the fucking thing before now really, wouldn’t you. But no, that would have made sense, and things making sense is not what we specialise in around here.
Given that many of the people in this band have previous, and distinctly awkward previous in some cases, I wasn’t expected this laid back, slightly surfy guitar sound, nor the hint of swagger with which it is delivered. Frontman Sean Armstrong has done two albums (first – second) of his own stuff, both of which are rather less than polished, and a couple of the band play in Battery Face whose music is also far from gentle.
I am also always kind of intrigued when bands forgo the traditional route of drip-feeding singles into the world to gauge reaction and build anticipation and just go ‘ah fuck it, we made an album and here it is’. Commercially I am not sure it’s all that sensible a thing to do, but personally I have a bit of a soft spot for this approach – it just seems refreshingly blunt.
The album itself starts incredibly strongly; as openings go both Summer Wasted and Butterfleyes are absolutely brilliant. There’s a sort of insouciance to this kind of guitar playing which I love, and watching Sean perform at Henry’s last weekend, his awkward between-song banter was in something of a contrast to his dapper, cool delivery of the songs.
Every once in a while the guitar riffs can sound a little familiar from one song to the next, and I think halfway through the record things are in dangers of just drifting a little. Neither Jean Thumb nor I Win really grab me as much as the rest of the album. They’re not bad tunes by any means, but there’s a touch of sameyness about them which risks bogging down an otherwise excellent album. Fortunately, that is swiftly alleviated by the nicely executed changes of pace of Take Me to the Moon Please and the meandering but excellent Gav’s Memory.
So all in all, it’s not perfect, this, but there’s a load of awesome stuff on The Yawns’ debut and their live performance was cracking at Henry’s the other night. I think we might just have an excellent new band on our hands here, which is good news.