Reviews:: The Dreadful Yawns Rest

It’s almost pointless to cover the Cleveland rock scene, as Bill over at I Rock Cleveland is essentially a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to covering the bands in his city (but he could talk more about the Mars Bar, which is where I drank when I used to head there for shows). But, we push on anyway. Last year I stumbled on Exit Stencil’s Blake Miller. The 18-year old put together a collection of freak folk songs that blew me away. High in melody, low in nonsense.

Well, it turns out that the other artists on the label are equally as talented, so they warrant some more hill hype. The Dreadful Yawns have one of the least fitting names since Trail of Dead. When I threw in the CD, I expected to be hit with the fuzzed-out drone of a shoegazer outfit, but instead the band (led by Ben Gmetro on vocals & guitar) is equal parts Nick Drake, West coast psychedelic and Americana. Subtle folk songs mix easily with dream like soundscapes throughout Rest, which is impressive when you consider it took years to create and 4 of the 5 band members quit during the recording phase.

The record starts with a beautiful acoustic number, You’ve Been Recorded. Ben’s voice floats along effortlessly, and the well placed, subtle strings and guitar work beef up the sound to create the dreamy, West coast textures. Making Byrds comparisons might be too easy, especially on Changing States. The band excels at combining simple melodies and beautiful harmonies. They never try to force too many instruments into the mix, which gives the tracks a weightless feel.

When I Lost My Voice introduces the listener to the heavy Americana, alt-country side of the band. The dusty guitar riff mozies along before breaking into full stride, but its songs like Candles that really stand out. The country guitar freshens up the dreamy melody, but backs away at just the right time and lets the strings drift you into sub consciousness. The album closer – The End of Summer – uses a saw to add those country undercurrents to a pop riff and pulls it off perfectly.

The standout track on the record is the lush Due South. The band uses flutes, violin, organ, autoharp and countless other instruments to create a dream sequence similar to the great Clientele record. It’s easy to throw sounds together hoping it works, but this band has a great feel for their sounds, adding elements at just the right time. The songs remind you of better days. Summer days at the lake, quiet nights and all those other cliché moments bands try to replicate, but the one difference is this band pulls it off.
MP3:: Due South
MP3:: You've Been Recorded

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