Bill Ryder-Jones - Yawn - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bill Ryder-Jones - Yawn

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2018-10-26
Bill Ryder-Jones - Yawn
Bill Ryder-Jones - Yawn

Back in 2015, Bill Ryder-Jones produced one of the best albums of the year with West Kirby County Primary. So the fact that he’s back with his fourth full-length solo album should be cause for celebration.

Yawn is an unusual choice of title for the former member of The Coral, since it could so easily apply to his own style of music - something of an own-goal. This album features much of the same from his 2015 effort, but with the melancholy turned up to 11 and a greater sense of glowering.

Things get off to a good start with ‘There’s Something On Your Mind’, a low, melodic keyboard hidden behind two layers of closely strummed guitar reminding you of what he can offer. However, the cynical edge to this album rears it’s head early with the line “but there’s a fortune to be had, from telling people you’re sad” - this is exactly what he’s guilty of himself, of course. After drifting along for a few minutes aimlessly, the song comes crashing down around you in a cacophony of noise, and it’s at that point you realise he’s missed the mark.

It’s tracks like ‘Mither’ which hold promise in a melody, but drag on far too long, swirling guitar sounds bringing a dirge of senseless sound. Six minutes this goes on for, presumably swinging for the post-rock sound, but alongside slow, glum lyrics, it becomes pretty unbearable.

Most songs weigh heavily in their themes, vocal delivery and guitar work. It feels like too much - as if there is no joy to be taken from these songs which stretch on under the demands of plodding drums. ‘Time Will Be The Only Saviour’, ironically, is the perfect summation of all this, throwing in a dull bassline throb to boot.

‘Recover’ is a brief moment of excellence, with warm acoustic guitar - reminiscent of Jose Gonzalez’s hypnotic style of picking - and double-tracked vocals speaking of regret about being able to “recover” someone.

Relentless in the pursuit of a sombre mood, Ryder-Jones has created a crushing sense of dread and lost the nuggets of fun from last time out. He retains some of his poetic charm - “Not that I care what people say, I just don’t feel myself today” he petitions on ‘There Are Worse Things’ - but it’s not enough to stick the entire album out for.

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