Article by: Leanne Ridgeway
YAWNING SONS, the cult collaboration between California desert rock legends Yawning Man and U.K. post-rock cultists Sons of Alpha Centauri, have now released their second full-length album, ‘Sky Island‘, and it’s streaming in full below.
“Look at that moon: we’re really in the desert now.” — Gary Arce, Desert Sky Studios 2018. And with those words, the recording session of the second YAWNING SONS album concluded. Recorded live in the deepest part of Joshua Tree, California, ‘Sky Island‘ reinforces YAWNING SONS as a collaborative phenomenon firmly adjoining desert rock heritage with progressive instrumentation.
Before they gathered in Joshua Tree, the YAWNING SONS story started in 2008 when, during the pre-production of their then-second album, Sons of Alpha Centauri invited Gary Arce from Yawning Man over to the U.K. to work with them to develop and record some of the material. From the very first initial session, it was evident that something unique and special had been born. Drenched in reverb and swirling in chiming guitars and soaring melodies, the band YAWNING SONS had taken flight.
The band, a portmanteau of the two respective collaborative bands, was joined by fellow Yawning Man founder Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson, Desert Sessions), Scott Reeder (Kyuss, The Obsessed) and Wendy Rae Fowler (Queens of the Stone Age, earthlings?) on vocals. Their debut album ‘Ceremony to the Sunset‘ was released in 2009 to near-universal critical acclaim, and within five years was re-released on vinyl, heralded as a “desert classic” and YAWNING SONS had progressed to cult status.
For ‘Sky Island‘, the original YAWNING SONS lineup that delivered the ‘Ceremony to the Sunset‘ debut returned, once again including exclusive performances from Mario Lalli, Scott Reeder, and Wendy Rae Fowler. However, this heritage lineup now includes highly respected desert rock stalwart Dandy Brown (Hermano, Orquesta del Desierto), also joining the band performing on several tracks.
Founding member and bass player Nick Hannon commented, “We always loved Orquesta del Desierto, so having Dandy join us means a lot and feels right.”
In case you just want to have a peek, in addition to the album stream via Bandcamp, the first two singles, “Shadows and Echoes” and “Cigarette Footsteps” are also streaming via YouTube.
01. Adrenaline Rush (vocals: Marlon King)
02. Low In The Valley (vocals: Dandy Brown)
03. Cigarette Footsteps (vocals: Mario Lalli)
04. Passport Beyond The Tides
05. Shadows and Echoes (vocals: Wendy Rae Fowler)
06. Digital Spirit (vocals: Scott Reeder)
07. Gravity Underwater (vocals: Dandy Brown)
08. Limitless Artifact
The album’s opening track and lead single “Adrenaline Rush” sees the core band driven by Gary Arce‘s mystical Yawning Man tones and the signature SOAC bass drive of Nick Hannon driving the hard rock vibes from Marlon King with his alluring vocals setting the tone for what will surely be one of the purest desert rock albums of the decade.
‘Sky Island‘ is indeed an album that captures the essence of musical ambiance, drenching in reverb with chiming guitars and soaring melodies. The overarching vibes of heat and sun permeate through the record, but also the scenic identity of the record shifts towards the sheer scale of the mountains, the valleys, and ultimately, the sky. These are stories that can only be told by the narrators on these tracks, and bind a story and a winding path. The sunset is eclipsing — look to Sky Island!
Mastered by John McBain (Desert Sessions, Monster Magnet), ‘Sky Island‘ is available on March 26th, 2021 (today), via Ripple Music, and can be ordered now in the following physical formats, as well as digital download:
– Limited Edition splatter vinyl
– Classic Black vinyl
– Extremely Limited Test Pressing vinyl
– Digipak Compact Disc
Yawning Sons Direct: Bandcamp
Gary Arce – Guitars
Marlon King – Guitars/Vocals
Nick Hannon – Bass
Stevie B – Drums
Kyle Hanson – Drums
Blake – Effects