Yawn’s 2011 LP, Open Season, was an impressive workout in psychedelic pop that was awash in melodious samples and whimsical synth play. The Chicago outfit definitely drew inspiration from Animal Collective and acts of their ilk, but Yawn were able to craft heavily textured songs without sacrificing pop hooks.
Now three years later, Yawn have returned with Love Chills, a record still full of hooks and fanciful melodies, but this time with a far more mature approach. Gone are the samples and electronic tendencies that have shaped Yawn’s music in the past, and in their place are sharp, sometimes even minimal, instrumentation. The approach pays off as Yawn feel looser and sound more confident as they ever have before.
“Under the She” begins in a haze of airy vocals until it gives way to a fuzzy bass groove, while “Flytrap” nearly goes straight prog-rock and sounds like something that could easily fit on Justice’s Audio, Video, Disco. Meanwhile, “Summer Heat” simmers by way of a bustling string section, and “Mylene” slowly sways with its Beach Boys-like harmonies before a spaced out guitar solo takes over.
On Love Chills, Yawn have not only matured but done so quite gracefully with a record that’s in no hurry to batter your brain with a barrage of ideas. Instead, the band allow their music to breathe and grow organically, which results in their best record yet.