Yawner. – Sunkissed (Review)

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    artwork by magnus
    Rank: First Frost
    Points: 120.25

    Yawner. – Sunkissed (Review)
    Published: August 31, 2022

    Yawner.’s eight song LP, Sunkissed, is filled with bubbling guitars, reflective lyrics, and pacifying synths that come together to form something akin to a kiss from the sun. The band consists of a duo, David Fuller & Matt Massara

    I first encountered Yawner. at Big Gun in Charleston in November 2021, where the duo had brought along Carter Long to play lead guitar atop a drum track. Their set was short, only 4 songs or so, but I instantly fell in love with their slowcore sound and made it a point to be at every show from there on. 

    It was only a few months later that the band would be playing their final Charleston show at the Purple Buffalo, due to Fuller moving to Chicago. With the band’s members moving, I was curious about what Yawner.’s future would look like, but after listening through this project, any worries I’d had subsided.

    One allure of the band is the distinct style of their album arts and merch, which are all designed by Yawner.’s bassist, Matt Massara. Sunkissed’s album art invokes a sense of nostalgia and wonder, instantly creating a world for the music to take place within. 

    The tracks on Sunkissed run short, mostly 2 minutes long, with the title track being the longest at 3:30 and the shortest being the opener “All I Want” at 1:59. The album presents a view through a sonic kaleidoscope, shifting views between past, present, and future.

    “All I Want” kicks off the LP with lyrical tones of looking to the past before averting its eyes to the future. Change is an important theme throughout the whole project. The precedent set is that you’re gonna sob and dance while you listen to this LP. The undercurrent of a steady bass and drum set the foundation for the vocal and guitar melodies to entwine into this swift dreampop opener.

    The music speeds up on “Juvenile,” where the drums bring a giddiness followed by a flush of synthesizers as the track ascends. Next, Fuller’s vocals are brought in which strike at a similar vein to Morissey. The track then dances around with all of the elements that it’s brought into its world. 

    “Hope You Die” is a snowglobe of contempt. Waves of gooey guitars wash along the background of the track while elusive riffs fill the space. There’s a sense of motion to the tracks on this album and this is one of the most prominent with its steady forward beat.

    The album’s lead single, “So Low” is a breath of fresh air that is joyously layered with a bouncy guitar melody atop surging synths and prominent vocals. The elements introduced do a good job of keeping up with the pace of the track. Its initial hook is like a gust of wind that sends the listener soaring into the song.

    My favorite track on first listen was track 5, “Marathon.” It makes me want to dance and kick at the peak of each melody. The track darts into whirlpools then comes out the other side dancing. The overarching theme of change is present once again in this track and conveys the arduous nature of the journey by tying it to the idea of a marathon.

    “Marathon” feels the most Smiths-inspired of all the tracks on the album, however, Fuller draws from a variety of other vocal approaches such as that of King Krule and The Radio Dept. 

    “By Your Side” is a lofi dreampop track that mozies its way along the meadows with a noticeably slower paced drum beat to the rest of the album. The vocals meander like a river, carrying a school of leaping riffs in its current. It introduces a nice change of pace to the album.

    “On Me” is a blissful dance through the sky that flourishes into a stream of ethereal riffs. The second half of this track blooms into a myriad of sounds. It feels like sifting through a sea of static. 

    Track 8 is the closer, “Sunkissed.” This song’s lyrics stood out to me the most out of any song on the album, which is fitting as it is the title track. The whole project is filled with a nostalgic feeling that is pinned against an acknowledgement of change, and nowhere is this more present than in “Sunkissed.” 

    My favorite lyrics from this project come with its parting words on “Sunkissed”, “Reflected in the ocean / that’s who I gotta be / saw every bit of myself / that’s who I wanna be.” The album then ends with a glittery wash of instrumental that stays true to the “Yawner.” sound.

    Listen to Sunkissed by Yawner. below

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