Better Weather by Yearling
The first thing that John Poole, guitarist and vocalist of Yearling, said to me once I told them they were on the record was: “Oh, we’re on the record? Then I want to say thanks to my uncle Marshall for the new underwear.” We had a lot of ground to cover.
If you have seen Yearling play then you have definitely thought to yourself, “where do I know that guy from?” Hell, you could almost say that a West Virginia rock supergroup, made up of John Poole (vocals, guitar), Eddie Stefanov (vocals, guitar), James Legge (vocals, bass), and Matthew Epling (drums). You have seen them before.
And that brings us to Better Weather, the first full length album from the fractious post-emo semi-hardcore band from Charleston. It was the “album that almost didn’t happen,” says Stefanov. “So much happened during the time we were writing the music.” There were two weddings, one member moved to Colorado, there was no plan on how to share or use the music that had been written; half the music for Better Weather had already been written with no plan on who got to use what. The band teetered. The members remaining in WV tried to carry on as Nova Scotia but never found the stride they had hit as Yearling. So each of them, in their own way, did the only thing that they knew how to do: they wrote.
“We were all depressed when we were writing,” says Stefanov, then adding with a laugh, “we were sad bastards, moping and crying in a room somewhere.” But that is what fuels their energy. “In a way it made it easy to write, because we could express it through what we were writing.”
Strangely, the prodigal son returned from Colorado. “We weren’t sure what to do when James came back,” says Stefanov, who added that they decided to just “record it and get it out.” New material, the old material, whatever material they had.
“There have been so many good bands that I’ve seen live who never recorded,” says Poole, “they are just lost to time.” Yearling was determined to not be one of those bands. So they semi-borrowed some recording equipment and set up shop at the Bakery, a venerable if dilapidated building known to most West Virginia musicians, and recorded a frantic eight track album called Better Weather.
“This is the beginning of the story of this band, not the end,” says Stefanov. There is better weather ahead.
The album itself wanders between slow developing emo-tinged guitar work and carefully orchestrated thrashing; it’s haunting and brutal. Finger picking leads to driving power chords and desperate guitar and bass lines. It’s all overlaid with a mix of melodic post-emo and hardcore vocals, often paired together to give a raw immediate energy, along with (and John Poole will never forgive me for saying this, a point he specifically made in our interview) a pop sensibility that allows the listener to follow the directions that Yearling is taking them; taking them through a storm into Better Weather.
“Safe,” “Bruised Hearts,” and “Cosmos”.