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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Yanks - Made in the States

Name: Yanks
Album: Made in the States
Year: 1984
Style:Rock
Similar Bands:Alarm, Bluebells, Hooters
"One-Word" Review:Made-for-Arena-PowJang-Pop
Based Out Of: San Francisco, CA
Label: DTI Records
Made in the States - Cover & Record
Made in the States - Back & Record
Made in the States - Mail In Postcard - Back
 Made in the States - Mail In Postcard - Front
Made in the States(1984)
  1. Tell Me No Lies 3:29
  2. Reason to Try 3:26
  3. We Call Each Other Mine 3:11 /
  4. Run 3:13
  5. Searchin' 3:50
  6. Made in the States 4:18
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
Paul Zahn - Drums (SVT, Flamin' Groovies)
Steve Aliment - Bass, Vox
Jack Johnson - Guitars, Vox (Das Block, Flamin' Groovies, Roky Erickson)
Owen Masterson - Vox, Guitar
Orb Company - Management
Karl Derfler - Producer, Engineer
Craig Luckin - Assistant
Derek Tracy - Executive Producer
Bernadette Tevlin - Design
Rex Rystedt - Photo(front)
Phil Gray - Back Photo

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band, but it looks like a bunch of gritty rock and rollers. Maybe with a power pop lean. Now, the date is a little newer, 1984 so it might not be as raw as the late 70’s early 80’s could be, but with only 6 songs, it is worth the try. I like the generalness of the artwork, and the fact that you could send in a post card to get a 20x26 poster of the band is a pretty cool promotion.

Album Review: One of Yanks’ founders, Jack Casady played in both Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, and had left another San Fran Power Pop group, SVT to form the Yanks with Zahl. He ended up leaving the group before they recorded this album.

“Tell Me No Lies” fades up with jangley guitar, which quickly turns to a heavy power guitar march, reminding me of the Alarm. Its breathy and rhaspy, more spoken word than sung. The angular metal guitars creek and scream as if played out on a barren, windswept landscape.
“Reason to Try” starts with strummed jangley guitars and a 3-note synth hook. The vocals have more melody in them, and are definitely sung more than the opening track, but the song comes off as missing energy and is stagnate. There is even a harmonized call and response vocal section in the chorus which is interesting, but does not save the song.
“We Call Each Other Mine” has a bluesy power riff at the outset, and is countrified in a pub-rock sense. The short chorus that takes the song’s name sake in repeat is the catchiest part of the record, but it still feels like a generic mid-80’s college radio jangle-pop song.

“Run” continues the momentum from the first side with another driving song with a dialed down, fabricated energy. This sounds like an alternate take on “We Call Each Other Mine.” The lyrics are spoken in cadence over the sparse verse. There is a little more energy in the chorus, but it feels forced, tired, and fake.
“Searchin'” starts out bland, and enfolds itself in a skipping jangley melody jog. The chorus is sung a bit “in the round” as the multiple voices wrap over themselves singing “searching for the one.” It is a fairly unjremarkable song, with a steady pulse marching drum rhythm, systematic breakdowns and meh solos. It just feels like they rehearsed these songs to death, and the music that resulted was mechanically perfected by the 96th take.
“Made in the States” is trying to be a middle America blue collar workers unite power anthem. There is a lot of space in the song. This is a half-hearted version of The A’s “Woman’s Got the Power.” The song never really leaves intro status, and feels like it should be building to something more than a lead in. 

Stand Out Track: We Call Each Other Mine

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