New Hampshire-based singer-songwriter John Andrews has called up his imaginary band The Yawns once more for third album ‘Cookbook’, a collection of songs inspired by timeless artists including The Mamas and Papas, Joni Mitchell and Carole King…
‘New California Blue’ opens in sultry and soulful style as John delivers lines about fondly remembering shop signs that state when they open and close over a dreamy Americana-inspired soundscape. ‘River of Doubt’ follows with its personal observations – ‘Sleepless night, I turn and toss, I lie awake with my thoughts’ – and a plea to ‘Save me from that Jersey devil’. John also asks a loved on to pull him out from ‘a river of doubt’ – all against a breezy and melodic backdrop of country-tinged pop hooks. ‘Ain’t That Right’ takes the record into a Grizzly Bear-esque direction with its gently experimental tones and unashamedly romantic musing: ‘Another lesson learned from loving you’; ‘I love you eveyr day of my life. Ain’t that right?’
‘Try’ is another introspective piece with talk of trouble coming into view and Buck Meek-style guitar work and this continues through the bluesy ‘Song for the Ganz’ and ‘Early Hours of the Morning’. ‘Easy Going’ is another romantic ode (‘Can’t trust anyone that you meet until I met you’) while ‘Johnny’s Cookbook’ has more of a sporadic yet subtle jam session feel before it finishes with glitches and experimental effects in its final seconds. ‘Keep On Dreamin’ is a piece of melancholic folk with a subtly powerful opening line: ‘Everybody’s got a dream, big or small, or in-between’. John talks about how people used to laugh at people who dreamt the Earth was round – basically he’s telling you, very gently, to never let go of thinking differently: ‘Ever since the dawn of time, we have dreamed and dreamed, good or bad’.
‘Thank You’ closes the album with a fitting celebration of friendship and gratitude and it becomes clear that with ‘Cookbook’, John Andrews and the Yawns have stirred up something very special.