Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Yam Haus - Stargazer (2018)

Written by Craig Bowles, posted by blog admin

Yam Haus starts their debut album off with its title cut “Stargazer” and the song sets an early tone for the release that its following songs ably live up to. A synthesizer layered introduction recurs throughout the course of the title song, but Yam Haus augments it with some cutting guitar riffs and spartan drumming that never lays on a single excessive beat. It isn’t a groove centric tune, ala some rock or jam band tune, but there’s no question Yam Haus establishes a straight forward approach from the first with this polished tune. Lars Pruitt’s vocals are a highlight here and throughout the release, but another early peak comes with the track “Kingdom”. Pruitt has easy going pop singer charisma, but also the authoritative punch to command your attention and an obvious talent for realizing the potential of his vocal melodies.

“Get Somewhere” has a more playful tone than many of the other songs on Stargazer, empathized by its vocal melody, but Pruitt doesn’t neglect strengthening the song with on point phrasing that realizes its dramatic possibilities. Pruitt’s flexibility as a singer makes this one all the more enjoyable and it has an effortless forward rush that carries you away. “Too Many People” grounds the music a little more than we’ve grown accustomed to over the course of the album’s first quarter thanks to Yam Haus moving away from electronic accompaniment in favor of piano and Pruitt proves he has a voice ideally suited for such a context.

“Right Now, Forever” is the first low-key acoustic track included on Stargazer and the band handles this stylistic shift with singular aplomb. Assuming that Lars Pruitt’s guitar contributions are largely consigned to rhythm playing, Seth Blum’s gorgeously rendered acoustic playing on this track counterpoints his voice quite nicely. The rhythm section of bassist Zach Beinlich and drummer Jake Felstow excel with the late pop gem “Bad News” and it results in one of the album’s most memorable turns, particularly thanks to the song’s vocal melody. Pruitt tackles that facet of the songwriting with supreme confidence.

“This Won’t Be The Last Time” has a strong bass pulse thanks to Beinlich’s playing and effervescent backing vocals punctuating Pruitt’s voice. It’s a straight ahead pop jewel polished to a bright glow and the accompanying synthesizers help flesh it out even more. The “true” climax for Yam Haus’ Stargazer, “Groovin’ (That Feel Good Song)”, more than lives up to its billing thanks to its bright jauntiness and a compelling rhythm that hooks into listener’s consciousness and never lets go. Yam Haus has debuted in the best possible way with Stargazer – there isn’t a single dud included in its track listing and its impossible to ignore the inspired nature of their performances.