On September 28th, Vagrant Records will releasethe latest studio album from Pete Yorn. Produced by Frank Black (The Pixies), this visceral 11-song collection follows Yorn’s two 2009 releases. Back & Fourth, hailed as “haunting” by Entertainment Weekly. While Rolling Stone said,”Yorn has found his voice on Back and Fourth, a mostly acoustic beauty.” It was followed in September by Break Up, a collaboration with Scarlett Johansson that Paste said “succeeds in its ambitious goal of capturing the spirit – if not the sound – of the late 60’s musical partnership between Serge Giansbourg and Brigette Bardot.”
Yorn’s forthcoming album, a self-titled volume with a plain black cover, was recorded on the spur-of-the-moment, in the summer of 2008. Yorn was in the middle of making Back & Fourth in Nebraska when he got an email from Black suggesting that they record some tunes. Intrigued by the notion of experimenting with Frank, Yorn hopped a plane to Salem, OR, where the two set up an impromptu studio. They recorded the albumin a mere five days – even though the singer-songwriter-guitaristcame down with the flu two days into the process.
“Frank didn’t give a shit about getting sick, so we stayed in the flow,” recalls Yorn. “He has an incredible ability to distill a song down to its core.”
Frank recalls, “Pete told me he wanted to better define himself as an artist. I think he just wanted to rock out. But as we headed down a path of realization I stripped him down a whole bunch. We battled in the best sort of way. I tried to get the session into a fearless and raw place, and to his artistic credit Pete took his songwriting to a fearless and raw place. This listener will find his or herself sitting right next to Pete on the couch. And the record totally rocks out.”
The resulting songs are raw, born of shattered nerves and shifting dreams – yet edged with hope. On “Sans Fear,” the album’s first single, Yorn veers between soaring harmonies and ravaged lead vocals as he contemplates a relationship’s end. Songs like album opener “Precious Stone” and “The Chase” examine the ambivalence that eats away at us, robbing our finest moments of their joy. Buoyed by jangly guitars, the former is an exuberant love song – up until the final verse, where the narrator faces the inevitable: “We know it can not last forever/such crazy feelings you inspire/I’ll have to run off by tomorrow/I never could put out this fire.” What happens when you get what you want – and it still isn’t enough? Maybe it’s time to look inside. And so the sole remaining single guy of “Future Life” goes from freaking out about the future to embracing it and learning to appreciate what he has.
This thread runs through the record – “Rock Crowd” is a heartfelt paean to fans that shines a harsh light on the time spent offstage while “Velcro Shoes” celebrates simple childhood joys like tree houses and go-karts. Down the road, the boy grows into a man’s set of wheels. “We’re not afraid to ride/we’re not afraid to die/come on wheels take me home today/come on wheels take this boy away,” Yorn sings on “Wheels,” letting the haunting refrain dissolve into a delayed echo that signals both the end of the song and this remarkable album.
Yorn will be touring in Fall 2010 in conjunction with the new album’s release. Tour dates will be announced shortly.
PETE YORN – TRACK LISTING
1. Precious Stone
2. Rock Crowd
3. Velcro Shoes
4. Paradise Cove I
6. The Chase
7. Sans Fear
9. Stronger than
10. Future Life