KISS is not just a badass old band in proto-corpse paint. K.I.S.S. stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid", as billions of tarnished and tattered cross-stitch samplers hanging on the walls of recovery clubhouses will tell you. It's not just a way to not get drunk. It is also a good recipe for a rock n’ roll record.
Nearly 65 years into rock n’ roll's feral rebellion, it is tempting to overcomplicate and hyper-specify, as genres become sub-genres and sub-sub-genres with increasingly stricter rules that need to be adhered to. For even the most nascent of indie bands to come out of the gate with some ambitious, lavishly produced concept double album. While Joanna Newsome might be able to pull off something like that (can she, though?) not everybody can, or needs to, or should even try.
In the realm of home recording, it is good to know how and when to rein it in, not getting bogged down in endless preset tweaking and perfecting overdubs. Hell, even Brian Eno, the king of screwing around in the studio and making weird noises, advises against playing with effects in the studio. It's an endless rabbit hole.
The Italian band Yearnin's self-titled debut Yeamin’ is a tight, taut four-track rock n’ roll EP. No more, no less. There are no symphonic breakdowns, no dubbed out remixes from DJ friends, no clever acronyms hidden in the lyrics to lead you to a decoder ring that will yield the location of a secret gig (that I'm aware of, anyway. Someone should really do that.) Just three lads with some strings and some skins, punching it out. What more do you need?
Yearnin' started out as a Black Keys covers band, which should tell you a lot for people familiar with Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's approach to stripped-down blues rock. It's like a wilder, punker take on The White Stripes' blues minimalism for those who've not had the pleasure.
Yearnin' also approaches the riff in a style similar to stoner rock legend Kyuss. It's straight-up blues rock, played straight, but there is an appreciation of the power of the riff. The solos could've been ripped straight from a Blue Cheer LP, but the approach is entirely their own. Yeamin' is aware of electric blues rock's ability to transport, becoming a kind of juke joint portal to some far-off star cluster. It reveals the Vodou underpinnings that run through so much American music, particularly from down South.
Yearnin's guitars are delivered tight and sharp, cutting through the mix like a razor through laser light, leaving plenty of room for bass, drums, and vocals. The power trio - the engineer's dream!
Yearnin's blues rock mantras may be wild and wooly, but they are delivered with a startling precision, like some futuristic 3D printing of a crazy-good psych blues record! For those who loved the earlier chaotic days of The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Kyuss and some of the rawer Stoner Rock bands, Yearnin's self-titled debut is likely to tick all your boxes.
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