Back on the stoner again, this time with a heavy dose of psychedelic, progressive rock. Straight outta Saarbrücken, Yagow’s smashing young lads are about to release their self-titled debut LP through Crazysane, and quite a convincing debut it is. Laid back and relaxed, even while retaining a bit of edge and another bit of heaviness, Yagow puts the peyote in peyote addiction, as we move seamlessly between dirty German flats in concrete apartment complexes, and the arid deserts of North America and Mexico.
Amid stoner fuzz and a touch of True Widow scented bleakness, there hides psychedelic and desert-prog elements very much in the vein of 70’s giants like Paice Ashton Lord and Andromeda. The production is more modern, if basic and very organic, and soft reverb coats much of the recording without making it all too wet. There are great melodies here, as is made clear from the outset as the riffs and licks of “Horsehead Nebula” visit their shamanistic fever upon the listener. The following track “Snake Charmer” goes full-on Deep South – except after a while you’re not quite sure if you’re in a Louisiana swamp or in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. From there on out, the stage is set, and while each track has its distinct individuality there is a nice consistency that makes the album a coherent whole.
While Yagow’s sound is robustly built around a rock’n roll set up of guitar-bass-drums, there are also droning keys to augment the experience. These are far less prominent than one could have expected, and it is quite a feat of Yagow to successfully create such a meditative and at times surreal atmosphere without resorting to all too many crazy effects and synthesizers. The melodies, the fuzz, the reverb and the occasional sonic oddity is enough to weave an atmosphere that is half drug abuse and half wilderness spirituality. The vocals occupy a place quite far in the background, but have a clear place and gives the album a little more life than it would have had as a pure instrumental piece.
If you live in a trailer on the edge of the desert, if you are trying to find yourself through psychedelia consumption in Asia, if you prove your faith by handling poionous snakes in a small American Church – or if you think one or all of these activities sound awesome – Yagow’s debut is the album for you. It’s not music that will make you dig and shake and dance like an idiot, but given even half a chance this album really shines. Yagow is released on the 16th of June, but is of course already available for preorder on vinyl, CD or download from Crazysane’s Bandcamp.