Excitement brews in the Mile High City. Like one of their famous high gravity IPA’s the Denver three piece the Yawpers aim to loosen inhibitions as well as morals while putting a bitter taste in your mouth with their Halloween Bloodshot Records release, American Man.
As the album intro “Doing it Right” proves, this isn’t music for the weak of stomach. No, it’s an everyman masterpiece that deftly balances a misanthropic outlook against the ecstatic joy and excessive abandon of youth. But the fury isn’t mute, the type of claptrap you’d expect from inarticulate rage of more base genres. Instead songwriter Nate Cook channels both the music and emotion of our favorite darker arts- metal and punk- while delivering an impassioned plea for a bit of honest relation in this veiled existence.
Utilizing slide guitar to devastating effect the country/western lot will equally find something to appreciate within the 12 tracks of this exciting first release. Late album inclusion “Beale Street” is an ode to such a market. Songwriter Cook has a way with words to match a voice that accomplishes both a scream and whisper with equal ease, look no further than his delivery of, “Graceland’s a gravestone!” across the faux Americana mando-fiddle accompaniment bleeding across this track.
If not the titular track, the most arresting inclusion on American Man might be “Burdens.” The finger picking lead is a sleight of hand that lulls the audience into a false sense of security. But one realizes something’s not right as lyrics unfurl the tale of youthful ambition contrasted against the limited options of a small town upbringing. There is a song within the song, a story just below the story. The lyrics are reminiscent of “For You,” off Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park for the urgency and determination contained within the vocal delivery.
In totality, American Man is akin to that dangerous older cousin you had growing up. He drinks and smokes too much and pisses off a lot of people off. Two parts self-taught intellectual, one part deviant, trying to hang with the rough crowd he runs with will land you in the klink, but he’ll also bail you out without telling your folks. The Yawpers are a joyride in a stolen car, a thrilling taste of liberty in an otherwise humdrum suburban existence. American Man is not for everyone, just those who take pleasure in this life.