Creep Show | Yawning Abyss Review
by Elerton Cisnero
Yawning Abyss, the latest offering from the unique collaboration of John Grant and electronic trio Wrangler, is a musical experience as compelling as unconventional. Following their debut album, Mr. Dynamite, this sequel proves to be a peculiar blend of the eerie, ominous, and unsettling, yet paradoxically, this strange brew of elements makes the album strikingly irresistible.
Opening with “The Bellows,” the album sets an intriguing tone with Kraftwerk-inspired synths and foreboding lyrical references. Grant’s vocals, auto-tuned to a computer-like resonance, contribute to the enigmatic atmosphere that pervades the album. Even in its reprise at the album’s end, the sense of mystery only intensifies.
Nonetheless, Yawning Abyss is not all gloom and mystery. Tracks like “Money Back” and “Yahtzee” bring an upbeat tempo to the album. “Money Back,” with its commercial singalong pop vibe and cheeky lyrics, is a delightful surprise. “Yahtzee,” on the other hand, is an intoxicating blend of unhinged funk and quirky lyrics that pushes the boundaries of convention.
In between the eclectic mix, conventional tracks like “Bungalow” stand out. This majestic ballad, reminiscent of Grant’s classic “Queen Of Denmark,” offers a relaxing break with its swooping melodies. The absence of pitch shifting on this track showcases Grant’s vocal range, adding to its allure.
The title track, “Yawning Abyss,” is a dark, funky, and seductive piece that pulls listeners more profound into the album’s unique soundscape. The album cleverly balances these darker, more experimental tracks with lighter moments, creating a complex tapestry of sound that invites listeners to explore its layers.
Fans of Cabaret Voltaire, where Stephen Mallinder of Wrangler hails from, will find plenty to enjoy in this album. Mallinder’s creative touch is evident, adding depth and complexity to the electronic elements of the album. Yet, it is the vocal and lyrical contributions from Grant that truly sets Yawning Abyss apart. Known for his deeply personal and often raw lyrics, Grant’s storytelling prowess shines, creating a palpable emotional resonance in the album.
While Yawning Abyss may be more conventional than Dynamite, it is far from ordinary. The album is an acquired taste and listeners who are open to stepping into Creep Show’s often oppressive and sometimes sleazy-sounding world will find a rich, immersive experience. It is an album best enjoyed with good headphones, as each listen reveals new audio tricks and subtleties.
In conclusion, Yawning Abyss is a testament to the creative genius of Creep Show, offering a unique musical experience that is as challenging as it is rewarding. It’s an album that invites you to dive into its depths, and once you do, you may not want to resurface.
Release Date: June 16, 2023
Label: Bella Union