The Dreadful Yawns

    The Dreadful Yawns


    With a name like the Dreadful Yawns, there’s plenty open to interpretation. What is a Dreadful Yawn? Is it when a yawn sneaks up on you in the middle of boring conversation? Or in that moment during a date when she starts endlessly yawning, and you’re confronted with the fact that you’re not getting lucky tonight?


    In order to embrace the meaning of the Dreadful Yawns, it’s important to start at the band’s roots. The Cleveland-based band is a collection of four musicians who wear their Americana influences on their chests like badges of honor. On their self-titled second release and first for Bomp!, the members of the Yawns are looking to create a home in their own corner of indie-country world. Mixing lead singer Ben Gmetro’s leisurely introspective vocals over mellow steel guitar and traditional country rhythms creates a sound that harkens back to the Jayhawk’s early days. They bathe in that middle ground between the plodding pace of the country and the hustling tempo of the city.


    There are a handful of influences on The Dreadful Yawns that seem nothing like the members’ self-described love of the Byrds. This album attempts to touch on Yo La Tengo’s softer moments and incorporate the Grateful Dead’s more Americana elements. What lies in its wake is a collection of songs that are caught between background music and the clever influences of early-American roots music. “Get Straight,” whose only lyrics repeat “I can’t wait ’til you get it straight” under a slowly simple, sonic groove, evokes a Velvet Underground influence and slightly indie side. The slow country drawl of “Get Yourself Back Home” uses harmonica licks and country guitar plucking to aim for the more classic Gram Parsons sound.  


    Unfortunately, the album leans heavier on the background-music side of the spectrum than the more noble roots side. Few things on The Dreadful Yawns left me eager to learn more about the meaning of the band. Instead, I was left with a better understanding of how inappropriate it can be to yawn in the middle of polite conversation. It’s not that what’s being said is dreadfully boring; it’s just that there’s nothing enlightening about the message or how it’s being said. 



    “Get Yourself Back Home” MP3:

    The Dreadful Yawns Web site (with audio samples):

    Bomp Web site:


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