Review Summary: The soundtrack to getting baked in the desert with the sun basking away at your body.
Yawning Man are quite possibly the founders of the Palm Desert stoner rock scene. They Began in 1985 and released two demos, but it took them 20 years to release a debut full-length. They are arguably one of the most important bands to hail out of Palm Desert, with constant praise from other artists of that scene and even having one of their songs being covered on a Kyuss album. Rock Formations is an astounding debut that shows you just how good the Palm Desert scene was and still is.
Musically, Rock Formations is instrumental stoner rock. It's similar to Karma To Burn, but lighter and airier. Since it's just two reverb-soaked guitars, bass and drums, all of the instruments have a chance to stand out. You get a nice, mildly distorted bass tone that plays constant rhythmic grooves. You get pounding, hard-hitting percussion courtesy of Alfredo Hernandez of Kyuss and Brant Bjork fame. and you get surf-influenced trippy guitar playing that sounds like the light of the sun basking on the desert. It almost feels like they recorded the album in the middle of Palm Desert itself. It's well produced but it feels raw like a 60's Rock 'N' Roll album. This is the soundtrack to getting baked in the sun with your back up against a chair and a trailer providing shade from the back.
The album has a major surf-rock influence. You can practically hear the sounds of Dick Dale's raw and dirty guitar work being channeled into the members of Yawning Man's minds while they record these trippy songs. Everything is locked into a mid-paced, groove with most of the songs being from 3-6 minutes long. Sometimes you get lost in a trance just listening to it. I must say though, this album does have one problem and that is being too repetitive. The same riffs and notes are played over and over again until they are firmly set into your brain. However, Yawning Man make up for this with catchy riffs and some of the best grooves in history.
Yawning Man are a criminally underrated band and were very important to the Palm Desert scene. It's a shame that many have forgotten about them now, as they released a second LP just this year actually. I advise anyone interested in this scene that i'm talking about to go and check these guys out immediately. Overall a 4.5/5
yawning man-rock formations