The Yawpers have been going screamingly fast since their inception and have occasionally tapped the brakes in the past, but on their third album, Boy In A Well, the Denver trio has learned that brake/gas finesse and have harnessed the immense amount of power into a controlled — but certainly not tame — beast.
Recorded in Chicago, Boy In A Well is a story-vision rock opera that was conjured by Yawper king barbarian Nate Cook after an ill-advised combo meal of alcohol, too much Dramamine (which makes people hallucinate at high doses) and an early morning flight. “The delusional result,” their label Bloodshot explained “is a sensational tragedy set in World War I France about a mother abandoning her unwanted newborn. It’s an album of complete immersion and instinct, with personal background (the story removes shrapnel embedded from Cook’s failed marriage) meeting psychological fascinations (German realpolitik, Freud, Oedipus, and the lasting social and cultural fallout of WWI… you know, the usual rock and roll stuff).”
Much of the album sees Cook, guitarist Jesse Parmet and drummer Noah Shomberg handling tracks in Yawpers-101 fashion. A blend of scuzz blues and psychobilly that continually adds fuel to Cooks’ already raging vocal inferno — which itself is a mix of hip-shaking Elvis, the ‘fuck you’ of Sid Vicious and the restraint of a blacked-out Jim Morrison. “By the time the group reaches the climactic ending of the track, Cook’s voice cracks with a soul-piercing level of emotion as he repeatedly sings “For the boy in the well.”
Boy in a Well is complex; it’s a manically conceived, historically situated, emotionally underscored, plot-driven fictive universe. It’s demented, unpredictable, taboo, ambitious, and yet distinctively cohesive.