Yawning Man – Macedonian Lines - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Yawning Man – Macedonian Lines

by Warwick Stubbs Rating:9 Release Date:2019-06-14
Yawning Man – Macedonian Lines
Yawning Man – Macedonian Lines

It’s fascinating to think Yawning Man have been around since 1986 but only released their first album in 2005. Kyuss fans would know the song ‘Catamaran’ covered on the band’s 1995 classic album ...And the Circus Leaves Town, a song that would finally be recorded by the band themselves and released over twenty years later on last year’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises.

What Macedonian Lines proves, is that

1. You can’t keep a good band down, and

2. We need more Yawning Man

The website proclaims that Yawning Man have always been driven by the need “to create and connect landscapes of the real to surreal”. Macedonian Lines extensively draws on the band’s touring of Europe to connect these vital impressions made with music, all of which was improvised, jammed, and developed on stage while performing live. This seems contrary to how most albums are made with the artists stuck in either a rehearsal room or the studio itself, battling it out with each other or their record producer; but Macedonian Lines actually feels freer, more complete, and more welcoming to the listener. As a result, guitar lines float freely with simple riffs often moving from root positions to 4ths or 5ths above while the bass manages both melodic and harmonic accompaniment. There is a subdued nature about the music, almost a sense of waiting excitement, like a surfer about to hit the waves and then that feeling of freedom as the perfect swell is met and ridden.

The desert scene derived from Palm Desert California was never about anger but about the acceptance of one another, coming together and enjoying the music being played. As founders of this scene, Yawning Man have brought that sense of enjoyment forward into the 21st Century with them.

Macedonian Lines is a fully instrumental album of bass, electric guitars, and drums: six songs lasting thirty minutes. It’s not long, but slightly longer than a standard EP’s worth, and the album feels right for it. Songs don’t have much variety, but this isn’t detrimental since the album encapsulates perfectly the dreamy interweaving of guitar and bass lines. Distortion is kept lower in the mix so that the bass is never swamped and the listener gets to enjoy the moving landscapes. While being an ethereal listen, it still maintains the rock foundation. The first song ‘Virtual Funeral’ begins with an intense distorted bass sounding reminiscent of the first heavy notes to enter Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’ but drums and guitar soon help the music take flight and soar. The title track begins with one of the catchiest guitar intros I’ve heard in a long time and soon develops into a climbing figure while bass descends through some wickedly heavy chords, and from there onwards the music never sits still but seems to keep developing, occasionally returning to ideas, and then taking flight again.

While ideas are never complicated, the simple dreamy guitar lines work in tandem with whatever the drums and bass are doing, giving the whole album a composed feel, rather than just “some songs written”. These songs actually sound like they’ve had quality time spent on them to draw out the best and give them the musical space needed to be their whole beautiful selves.

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