Hallelujah – No Nonsense Good Ole Fashioned American Punk-Rock & Roll
What witchcraft do the good people at Bloodshot Records employ to keep unearthing amazing bands and singers that never sound like anyone else; but all sound like Bloodshot artistes?
Out of the left field of the backside of nowhere the distinguished Chicago Record Label brings the world a trio from Denver Colorado called The Yawpers.
The album opens with the single Doing it Right and from the get go my pulse was racing and my fist preparing to punch the air. Taking ‘three chords and the truth’ to the Max, the Yawpers integrate the street Punk menace of the Ramones and MC5 with the sharp lyrics of someone like Jonboy Langford or even (early) Elvis Costello – I’m in for the long run!
Walter and the hyper Kiss It are in a similar sharp focussed vein – crashing guitar, power-drumming and Entwistle style pounding bass to create a glorious noise that will scare the horses.
Not everything is loud and proud; Tied is a really intense and dark piece of Alt. Country worthy of Nick Cave if he’d come from Nashville and later someone uses a Resonator guitar like a Gibson Les Paul on the raucous Deacon Brody and the same instrument cuts through the slow, mean and moody Faith and Good Judgement like a butchers knife.
The ‘nicest’ song here is Boulders which full of whip sharp acoustic guitars and rat-a-tat drumming alongside red hot lyrics about a kid leaving school and dreaming about leaving his small town for the bright lights/big city.
The Yawpers even throw Bluegrass into their heady Punk-Rock & Roll mix with Beale Street; it’s still got fire in it’s belly but it’s definitely Bluegrass – things like this can confuse a stupid person.
Now if I have one complaint about this album; it’s the song 9 to 5. The song itself is fine and dandy; erring on the side of Roadhouse Blues with a side order of Cayenne Rock; but surely I won’t be the only person expecting to hear the Dolly Parton classic!
Now for my favourite two tracks here; and two tracks that turn a great album into an exceptional one.
3 A.M is a sonic tour de force from start to finish detailing Teenage Angst in all its depressing glory. Imagine if you will Kurt Cobain doing a Country album and if he had, it would be chock full of songs like this; and who among us hasn’t experienced “Well maybe I’ll turn to Jesus/Maybe I’ll cash it all in/I can feel the darkness coming in/Sitting here at 3A.M.” Powerful words my friends, very powerful indeed.
But the song that shades it for my affections is the title track American Man which takes Springsteen’s Born in the USA and runs with the ball deep into the underbelly of American culture. The narrator undoubtedly loves his country but as sure as Hell hates what has been done to it at home and abroad by his elders and betters – in the name of Old Glory! It won’t matter if the Yawpers never make it out of the clubs and into stadium; this is a perfect anti-National Anthem and will soon become a concert closer that will have fans hugging each other, punching the air and screaming along with singer Nate Cook.
What more can I say? The Yawpers are, yet again, another rough diamond in the Bloodshot necklace and destined to be in the front row very, very soon.
Released October 30th 2015