Published Jun 03, 2014San Francisco residents Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing are the celestial duo that make up the folk group Yesway. The two musicians, having crossed paths in the Bay Area music scene, combined to form a band based on vocal harmonies and twin guitars. Their self-titled debut album is a mix of cavernous soundscapes and audible distances, all in support of inter-woven chanting.
The album is a collection of expansive instrumentation that crescendos and retracts at a moment's notice, all while exploring the melodic limits of two guitars' 12th-fret harmonics. The first half of the album is relatively bass-less and hinges perilously on being static. That is, until the enthralling sixth track, "Howlin' Face." This dub-adjacent offering marks the shift in the album's tone for the remaining five songs. The captivating melody is alluring and hints at a climax that comes in the form of a heavy bass emergence that wouldn't be out of place at a rave. The album rides the momentum of "Howlin Face" through the rest of the album, constructing grandiose stadiums of sound using large cymbal vibrations and effective synths. Although certain songs suffer from a lack of enhancing bass, tracks like "Heart Does Not Lie," on which deep wavering bass is employed, serves as a positive catalyst for lyrics that are emboldened by the sound.
The spacey production of Yesway's album is very effective, lending itself to many different genres. Given the use of odd time signatures and digital instruments, it's difficult to classify Yesway as a traditional folk record despite a few songs ("Winter Willing," for example) following the regular recipe. That said, Ritz and Johansing have created something very unique and worth listening to. (Independent)