CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET - Yawning Sons (Lexicon Devil/Fusemusic)
It's not often that I can wear anything that could be vaguely described as "aural wallpaper", so maybe it's the onset of old age that helped this set of songs from a UK-instrumental band, and various trans-Atlantanic collaborators, burn a giant hole in my O-Mind.
The album title sounds like it was pinched from a yoga textbook and its sound persuades rather than belts you into submission, but there's no shortage of deft harmonics and chiming notes to make this a guitar freak's delight.
If that earlier wallpaper inference is offensive it's not meant to be. This is music that works on many levels, like Tom Verlaine's vocal-less efforts, and playing it in the background while performing everyday tasks (like open heart surgery or splitting the atom) is possible without nodding off.
While I've never been deep into Desert Sessions-type stoner trips, that's where one element of "Ceremony" comes from. US producer Gary Arce - I hope his English collaborators didn't have too much fun with that pronunciation - and veteran of Yawning Man et al teamed with Kent quartet Sons of Alpha Centauri to put down an album. Arce joined in on guitar. to add to the mood of twangy conviviality.
A week's worth of instrumentals made it evident they had something different, so the tracks were married to overdubbed vocals from guests from Kyuss, Mark Lanegan Band and Fatso Jetson. The result is what's now on album, issued under the amalgam moniker Yawning Sons.
Beguiling melodies roll out continually and dipping into individual songs is like a mescaline lucky dip. Play the whole shebang through from go to whoa for maximum effect.
"Ceremony To The Sunset" recalls Sonic Youth in their quieter moments or Pink Floyd in their trippier. There's more sonically satisfying moments across these seven tracks than you might think if you're not on a first-name basis with the principals' prior bands.
"Meadows" is a sizzling guitar slow-bake, a shimmering track that draws you right in. "Ghostship-Deadwater" has a fuzz-laden ambience that's arresting, while the chiming "Japanese Gardens" is the personal favourite that demands attention. The vocalists are in tune with what's going down, with Wendy Rae-Fowler and Scott Reeder to the fore.
This will sustain multiple back-to-back plays even if you don't have OCD, and if it's not dark enough to have been the soundtrack to Dr Jim Jones' final Kool-Aid party it might have been a handy soundtrack to one of his pre-departure home movies. - The Barman
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