Yawn Mower is back with another EP on Mint 400 Records and a release party for Why Work Harder Than You Have To will be held at The Saint in Asbury Park on March 22. The EP was recorded by Pat Noon at Trax East.
This latest EP is a tribute to groups that the band idolizes and worships, and the list goes like this: “Doctor Worm” originally by They Might Be Giants, “Fume,” a b-side originally released on Beck’s “Loser” single, “The Jersey Shore” originally by The Promise Ring, “Lump” originally by The Presidents of the United States of America, and “You Don’t Know How It Feels” originally by Tom Petty
Punkish to the nth degree, “Doctor Worm” stomps, postures, and preens with all the trappings associated with punk plus horns. It’s a great combination that literally flies into the listeners subconscious, and the band does a bang-up version of their own interpretation of the tune. Trumpet blends with guitars as Mike Chick blasts the listener with his vocal expertise. His baritone guitar work fluxes with Biff Swenson’s frenetic drumming style, and it works like no one else can do. Vocals are melodic and toned as guitars chug and thrum over solid drumming. Dan Melius adds excitement and clarity with trumpet work, and it ties in perfectly. A great song covered intensely from one of the area’s true original purveyors of musical mayhem.
“Fume” is up next. Guitars crash in massive distorted waves as drums pound rhythmic pules throughout. Mike’s vocals are the perfect vehicle for this, and he’s definitely in his element with this song. I love the combination of guitars that ring sustained chords over vocals and drum tracks. Pat Noon definitely has a great set of ears on this project and is partially responsible for getting this band into their recording groove for sure.
“The Jersey Shore” is up next and this song rings true to many from the Jersey area. The boys do us proud as they combine guitar licks, giant chords, and solid drum beats to give us their version of this classic tune. Once again, the recording is sonically right on, and pristine in nature. The opening dry electric makes way for great big swaths of guitar glory before chugging down into the verse. Mike Chick plays it cool and delivers an exciting vocal delivery, as Biff kicks the backbeat through the roof. I actually like this version better than the original, which doesn’t happen very often.
Once again, the band takes an original ass-kicking composition and churns out their own extraordinary version to make “Lump” my favorite track here. I love the beginning drum slam before the song kicks into high gear. Guitars growl and resonate as drums pummel the verse and chorus non-stop. Mike Chick has always had an eye for the extraordinary and a flair for the creative, which is demonstrated here with these songs. It’s not even the fact that they’re cover songs, but the fact they’re doing them with their own flair and style, which makes each selection a worthwhile addition to the catalog. Vocals fly over rhythms and chords with an effortless flair of carefree know-how, and it works perfectly.
The last song on this EP is Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels.” Culled from his 1994 album Wildflowers, you can tell Yawn Mower is really having fun when you hear this track. Big bouncing chords fly into intricate lead riffs and monster drumming, courtesy of Biff, as Mike does his very best interpretation of the master himself. Special guest Rudy Mier guests on keys and makes a lasting impression on the listener with the blended sounds of his 88 piano keys and melodica work. Chick grinds on as he tells the musical tale of the tune and blows heavy washes of guitar magic across the songscape. Leads are pure Mike Campbell and loaded with grit and texture. Yet another great offering from a band that delivers music to the masses in its own authentic way.
Why Work Harder Than You Have To is out now and ready for consumption so go check out the band, buy the music, and saddle up to the next live show. I know you won’t be disappointed. For more info on Yawn Mower and Why Work Harder Than You Have To, head over to www.facebook.com/yawnmower and find out what’s going on for yourself.