Brian Eno would be proud.
2012, Feel Trip Records
8.0 / 10.0
After raising industry eyebrows at their successful SXSW show in 2010, Chicago’s YAWN have released a new EP, Happy Tears, showing off the progress they’ve made since last summer’s full album, Open Season, and subsequent tour with The Kooks and Mates of State. Prior to their celebrated appearance at SXSW, YAWN made their way to the forests of Germany in 2007 for the Taubertal Open Air Fest. After bleeding their earnings away hiring overpriced producers, the band were forced to learn the valuable philosophy of DIY, AKA self production, and their collaborative ambition has improved because of it. Where Open Season, may have experimented too much, Happy Tears breathes with a subtle maturity, knowing when to push and pull.
Album opener, “Ganymede” has a simple tribal beat, clattering rhythms, shimmering bells, hazy vocals and general dreamlike feel that sets the tone for much of the EP. Happy Tears greets the listener with a warm hippy hand and its technicolor gossamery orchestration, encompassing a faded yet content Sunday morning vibe. “Ganymede” falls with ease into the mesmerising beach sounds of “Take It With Me”, a song reminiscent of The Avalanches’ experimental jaunt.
The intoxicating and minimal “Momma’s Boy” travels into Yeasayer and Aphex Twin territory while maintaining YAWN’s identity. However, it’s the EP closer, “Yabis”, where you’ll find the most intrigue. Up until its finale, Happy Tears remained in the same mold of an obscure, cohesive dream. The initial robotic beat, electro synths, and clattering polyrhythms of “Yabis” could be mistaken for Hot Chip, but it soon morphs into an ambitious, psychedelic romp, infusing the best of electro-pop, and YAWN’s own tribal nature. It’s enough to make Brian Eno proud. Though the tracks can fall into an amorphous, nondescript groove, the four piece prove capable of melodies that their contemporaries would find hard to match, and the collaborative ambition found in Happy Tears shows a wealth of potential for the future.