The wait is over! Los Angeles folk pop messengers Bobtail Yearlings have finally emerged from hibernation, bringing their signature blend of brain twister lyrics, dual counterpoint guitars and furious muted mandolins. The 18-song cycle album Yearling's Bobtail represents the culmination of four years of writing and recording, on top of a lifetime spent in constant plotting. Part autobiographical novel, part musical theatre, Yearling's Bobtail examines all the details of singer Bennett Lins luckless youth - from growing up with an autistic brothers destructive tantrums, to his spiritual disillusionment at the hands of a mail order cult - which ultimately warped his character and led to the deterioration of his first relationship. Exploring the theme of hurt, and it's cycle of perpetuation by which victims grow up to become abusers, the album ends with an affirmation that redemption is possible, and goodness can be reclaimed. Informed by the writings of Joyce, Beckett and others, the songs are a never-ending onslaught of complex lyrical aerobatics, including a literary device of Bennetts own invention known as doublespeaker rhyme, whereby two different sets of lyrics that rhyme syllable for syllable are sung simultaneously, each one panned hard to a single speaker. For example, from the song On a Golden Cord: So a plan devised divides a slave once wed: A bid for greatness' sake, he's sold on as holy war; When longed by nothing you then fight the best, For kohl-eyed houris as reward. Though, the master mind reminds us, straight ahead A bigger plate awaiting nulls one half full before; And fond sighs of reunion I must rest; Forego like jewelry that she wore. Stylistically, the band leapfrogs through a spectacular variety of genres. 'Ash Wednesday' plays with Arabic quartertones, then settles into a mediaeval psalm. 'Pchelka's Starry Journey' combines a dash of Russian folk music with Tuvan throatsinging. The Celtic reel of 'Garryowen' segues into the barrelhouse romp of 'On a Golden Cord', with it's klezmer-shaped chorus. And 'Cremated' contains an auditory illusion called a Shepard tone, where the background note seems to constantly descend in pitch, yet remains fixed in place throughout the song. Like a pre-bedtime gobstopper slowly revealing it's multiple layers of colours and flavours, Bobtail Yearlings offer timeless songs just as lingeringly sweet and rewarding.
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