by Matt Meade
“Cannibal King” isn’t what you think. It’s not a cookie monster vocalist gutteralizing all over a thrash metal track at 220 BPM. It’s a delicate, gentle song by a talented singer-songwriter borrowing phrasing from The Flaming Lips’ “Waiting for a Superman,” and making coy references to “the quiet strength of the Carpenter’s house…”
Not only is “Cannibal King” not a song released by a death metal band named Malevolent Sandwich, it’s an EP by yesper, a bummed out guy with a wounded guitar, excelling at all the things bummed out guys with wounded guitars are supposed to excel.
He’s got a voice that is scratchy and somber, guitar playing that moves adeptly up and down the neck to fill out the sound of a lone guitar playing a simple progression, and he is even handsome in that thin kind of “I just got contacts and it turns out I have perfect bone structure, but I used to be a geek last year, I swear,” kind of way.
According to the artist, the songs off the EP were recorded at night in a “gigantic empty storefront in downtown Seattle.”
At least that’s what the artist alleges. I say that he “alleges” this because the songs sound exactly like they were recorded at night in a gigantic, empty storefront in Seattle, so I am somewhat suspicious.
Whether or not this is clever persona crafting it works very well (after all who doesn’t want to record their spare, atmospheric, acoustic record in a location as cinematic as an abandoned storefront in Seattle? The only places better suited to be the back drop for your feel-rock would be a pink house in a rural area of upstate New York, or a cabin in the snowy woods of Wisconsin), The vocals reverberate with the perfect level of decay against the walls (probably populated by half torn down advertisements for brands of beer you’ve never heard of, and a cash register long ago emptied of cash and receipt paper) and the single piano key plunks bounce gravely off of what I can only imagine to be a cement floor that is dirty in that cool way, not that gross and smelly way.
Best Song: “Hovercars”
With this standout song yesper is operating with the same musical tools as the other songs, delivering the spiraling fingerpicking, the delicate and echoey production, but he is in the most unique lyrical territory here. The spare acoustic song takes place in the same bizarre future as Robocop 2, or some Japanese graphic novel, but you don’t get lasers and Nehru jackets. You get angst and heartbreak.
It’s an interesting thought experiment since this kind of song, played on this kind of guitar has existed for at least 100 years and though the set dressing has changed, the topics have not. There is no difference between the types of song that guys like Henry Whitter and Fiddlin’ John Carson wrote and played when trains and whiskey and rubella were the only things that people did for fun (I assume), and the songs written today that reference iPhones and email. These songs were then and are now about the same kinds of love, lust, heartbreak, and fear.
Yesper makes the assumption that this will be no different in the future when hovercars and jetpacks are finally a thing,
After all the “hovercars and robot stripper cars,” are dealt with, the only thing left is death. All anyone ever wants to write about is death, and sex, and love, which we all know are the only things that really exist.
Twitter: Fuck twitter, we’re all gonna die.
Label: Fuck a label, we’re all gonna die.
Upcoming Show: Fuck shows, we’re all gonna die.
Website: http://yesper.bandcamp.com/ : We’re all gonna die, so pay what you want for “Cannibal King.”