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John Andrews & The Yawns
Bit By The Fang
Woodsist Records

Bit By The Fang is the debut solo album from Quilt (drums)/Woods (keys) member, singer/songwriter John Andrews and his imaginary back up band The Yawns. Like his label, Woodsist describes this recording to be/sound like: 'Warm acoustic guitars, honky tonk piano, lap steel, singing saw and fluttering violins all sing together and create this well crafted, yet comfortingly sloppy, psych-country/R&B record.' I'd better go check it out myself. You'd better do the same thing.

John Andrews is a self-taught player, which makes this album and its songs ooze with a true, authentic vibe. The style is laid-back and care-free, and the songs are harmonic and perfectly cooked, fried and scrambled. The over-all feel is of the feelgood kind. Bit By The Fang holds 11 tracks, and they all roam the free-spirited, good-hearted fields over underground rock. Rock with a free-folky feel, that is. Like the press sheet states, 'it's hard not to conjure comparisons to Michael Hurley, Daniel Johnston or Kevin Ayers.' This quote might be a good clue for where to find the songs and music of Andrews. As Jeffrey Silverstein wrote for Woodist: 'This album is a great introduction to the grandiose fables of characters at the mercy of Andrews' oddball mind.'

From the opening "Don't Spook The Horses", John Andrews really makes sure to hold on to your attention throughout the album. His songs are twisted and bent in style and spirit, but the songs are all warm and heartfelt. They are all created with love, coming from a good heart and a warm mind. "I'll Go To Your Funeral (If You Go To Mine)" is a soothing ballad, as.... well..., yes, most of these tracks are of the ballad kind. The singing saw adds some magic and mysticism to the sound. The album has got this relaxed twang to it. Andrews' songs almost make you sleepy, but that's in a good, comfortable way. Without falling asleep. Just check out "Hear Me Out", "Pennsylvania" and the title track. All this sounds almost like being a collection of vampire ballads. Well... eerie, late night, twilight songs. Night owl tunes. Music from the wee hours before sunrise. Neat stuff. "No Gun" is almost a lullaby. A lullaby for the early morning daytime. There's a certain fragility within Andrews' songs, but they also appear to be firm and solid. Bit By The Fang is an impressive debut album.

Copyright © 2015 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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