The Dreadful Yawns have unjustly labored on the edges of notoriety since the release of their debut album nearly a decade ago. Those familiar with the band over the years and five LPs have witnessed the band’s evolution from an Americana / Folk band into an unparalleled composite of Americana, Psychedelic, Pop, and Shoegaze---constantly guided and curated by singer / songwriter Ben Gmetro.
Picnic finds the Dreadful Yawns at perhaps their most playful---from the child-like artwork, songs titles, and the multiple pop-gems that clock in under the 3-minute mark---the album reflects a songwriter comfortable with his craft and having fun with the band accompanying him along the way. Spirited acoustic-driven arrangements dominate the album with the delivery that has made Wilco comparisons commonplace, but the Dreadful Yawns continue to draw from multifarious musical touchstones. “Figure it Out,” one of the few non-Gmetro tracks on the album, briefly infuses a somber mood into the album as Eric Schulte’s deep baritone intermixes with the soft voice of Elizabeth Kelly, with a hauntingly beautiful effect.
Picnic represents the last songs recorded with the line-up that produced their psychedelic-infused 2008 album, Take Shape and the feeling of finality can be heard on the lengthily titled "Perpetual Depression The Making Of Entering Kentucky Hear What You Want The Top Of The Mountain." The Dreadful Yawns equivalent of the Beatles "Medley" on the B-Side of Abbey Road, the band seems to “clean house” of unfinished songs and hooks that accumulated over the years. Much like the aforementioned “Medley,” the fragments on “Perpetual Depression…” are masterfully arranged and flow seamlessly into one another as they traverse territory ranging from Grateful Dead inspired folk rollicking, Mazzy Star-like delicateness, Nuggets-era organ driven pop, and a banjo backed group sing-a-long conclusion.
At the conclusion of “Perpetual Depression…” Gmetro sings out “You can visit anytime you want,” and that sentiment rings true for The Dreadful Yawns. They will continue to create their beautiful and unique brand of music that could generally be called Americana---whether or not anyone is listening. “Come and visit” and you will find Gmetro fronting the Dreadful Yawns and you’ll wonder how you’ve missed them for so long….