See It Through is the sophomore effort from La Grange, Texas’ The Youngest. This four piece delivers a crisp, textured, rock driven sound that (to these ears) draw inspiration from the earlier part of the ’80’s – the sound perfected by bands like The Chameleons, Sound, Comsat Angels and even earliest U2 – and this is not a bad thing, by any means. It’s the kind of delivery that fills every inch of the song with color and melody, so these young men must have been very astute students. And to add to the quality of their delivery, they even employ horns, which immediately makes me think of my beloved Teardrop Explodes. BUT (and let me emphaszie that “but”) it’s in the sound – not the style of music this band makes, as they have a very wide palette to paint from.
“In Gulf” starts slowly, but builds with tension and dynamics until it erupts towards the end with a joyful sounding brass section; “Built To Last” whooshes by like some of those wonderful cuts from The Ocean Blue or The Connells in the late ’80’s – this easily fits the bill of “made for radio” and has some wonderful guitar figures; “Red Corolla Rental” does a complete turnabout and sounds like good old honky-tonk ‘n’ roll with a damned fine get-down guitar solo (a la Rich Robinson-style) and tasteful piano/Fender Rhodes keyboard licks. “Bonnet Blues” is a sad-country track with some delicately punched in guitar and stellar organ playing; “Big Brother’s Love” is a rollicking (yet quietly understated!) piece with some terrific harmonies and a very cool “stinger” guitar riff and “Roots” is a lazy, dreamy piece that feels like you’re being carried over a wave. And this is an interesting side note – the tempo and pace of the album slows down considerably as of 7th track, so that it seems like a proper, side one and side two album. The first being the rock songs; the seconds being slower and more experimental.
And this is an album that works, simply because the music is that good; the performances are that good and the production just adds to heighten the quality of these songs. There’s a great statement about the band on their website, which is a neat summary: “The Youngest are poised to voice the cool tension boiling within today’s youth. Neither saccharine nor cynical, See It Through offers music for a generation hesitant about their country’s future, but prepared to accept the mantle. And much like the album’s lead single, this band seems built to last.” And I can buy that.
See It Through is available now.