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The Yawpers – American Man

A loud but literate howl.

A raucous mixture of brawn and brains, Denver trio The Yawpers have conjured a dark country-blues assault where their twanging guitars jostle with frantic bursts of over-amplified acoustic slide.

Kicking off with Doing It Right (their own scuzzy take on Train Kept A Rollin’), this album is a howl, but a controlled one, using dynamics to propel their songs, notably on Kiss It, where the low, menacing spoken vocals explode on the chorus. It’s also a literate howl. This is a band that took its name from a Walt Whitman poem, after all, and just about any time you take the time to delve into the lyrics you’ll find food for thought. Lines such as ‘Living my life with my head in the sand/Praise the Lord I’m an American Man’ on the title track are not the kind of jingoistic patriotism you might have been expecting.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.