Review Summary: A lesson to newer stoner/psychedelic acts that thrive on their legacy..
For those unaccustomed to Yawning Man, this is one of the main acts that helped shape desert rock and ultimately the spaced-out psychedelic/stoner rock, genres that became very popular and currently enjoy a resurgence in popularity. Originally formed around 1986 by Gary Arce, Alfredo Hernandez, Mario and Larry Lalli (all of them starting or joining several other bands in the upcoming years), they used to jam at those legendary generator parties in the Mojave Desert where future Kyuss band mates such as Josh Homme, Brant Bjork or John Garcia were present in the crowd. Although at times the band ventured into darker, more distorted territories (see Pot Head
), their main sound was characterized by long, eerie tunes revolving around Arce’s reverb and delay-drenched leads, backed by a groovy bass along with airy drumming. Their Birth of Sol
tapes circulated among fans for two decades until finally, the first LP, Rock Formations
saw the light of day in 2006. It brought them to a new audience that recognized their influence over the years. A good while later, in between several tours, we received Nomadic Pursuits
, a proper follow-up featuring some lovely, familiar tunes, making it clear they're not disappearing again.
A couple of years ago, the band started raising funds on IndieGoGo for a third record and after exceeding the required sum before the deadline, they even donated a part to charity. However, it took a some time for the results to materialize as the members had focused on other projects like Lalli’s Fatso Jetson or Gary’s ZUN album released this spring, which includes John Garcia on vocals. Nevertheless, the wait was worth since Historical Graffiti
presents pretty much everything you would expect from them. A perfect soundtrack for the final weeks of summer, these laid back jams are just as loose as always, leading you like warm, soft breeze through the desert landscapes. The two cuts that bookend the record, ‘The Wind Cries Edalyn’ & the title track create a lush sonic platform where deep bass lines abound, whereas the guitars play beautiful, melodic leads in unison. There are chunkier build-ups as well as subdued moments popping up along the way, however, the music floats so peacefully, you can’t help but sit back and relax. A violin embellishes ‘The Wind Cries Edalyn’, whilst in the latter Lalli’s bass work is very powerful, Gary’s guitar only occasionally protrudes it. Meanwhile, the short piece, ‘Naomi Crayola’ boasts a more lively rhythm, changing the album’s pace for a few minutes. Arce wanders around, oscillating his pedal effects, while the others stay locked in a driving groove. A moment like this was needed, because the remaining two songs, ‘Her Phantom Finger of Copenhagen’ & ‘The Secret Language of Elephants’ continue the smooth flow, each boasting its own gorgeous patterns.
was recorded in one evening during Yawning Man’s South American tour last year in the famous ION Studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That spontaneity is clearly portrayed here since the entire LP acts like a single unit. Its short length is welcomed in a way, because it keeps the journey tight, constantly asking for another spin. Unlike previous affairs, there are no clear highlights that overshadow the rest, thus offering a constant ride that fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy. It proves just how natural is for these guys to create such lovely music, mainly a result of an excellent chemistry between Lalli and Arce. It might not be their best record, yet it offers a lesson to newer acts that thrive on their legacy.