The music of 2012: The Young Friends – Hello
I first discovered The Young Friends in 2010 when they opened for The Drums at small gig in Gainesville, FL. Although it shouldn’t be the case, often seeing a band live prior to hearing any of their material can be an underwhelming experience. Fortunately this wasn’t the case with The Young Friends, their sharp performance had me rushing to the merch stand to buy their CD-R of demos, the bulk of which went onto become their first EP Hella.
The Young Friends are Andrew McKee and Brant Stuns, a criminally slept on duo from Arizona. Formed during their senior year in high school their music has a nostalgic, youthful summer vibe, heavy on hooks and melodies, similar to that of say The Drums, just a little lighter on the melancholic undertones. Their debut LP Hello released earlier this year follows a similar formula to Hella but as a whole has a more cohesive flow with a bit of synthesizer here and there.
By singer Andrew McKee’s own admission the lyrics on Hello are based on real experience rather than the fictional basis that formed Hella. Themes of youth run throughout, from fun, love and relationships to self-identity and introspection. Detractors might say the lyrics leave a bit to be desired, but personally I’m not looking to have my mind blown with some deep intellectual breakthrough as I listen to Hello. The songs are short, sharp and well structured, and the emotion they convey feels genuine. Self produced, the guitars, drums and vocals have room to breath, while the overt lyrics can be interpreted at as deeper level as you would like.
Downtown, Let ‘Em Know, In the Dark and Bummer are all standout tracks, but from front to back there wasn’t a skippable song. Call them surf pop, rock, The Drums (joking…), whatever you’d like but get Hella and say Hello to The Young Friends. They’re the mellow, cool buds you wish you had.
Sad postscript – due to geographic distance between band members The Young Friends parted ways in August this year, but if you are interested lead singer Andrew McKee has formed new group Donny & The Dorks. From The Young Friends Facebook page - if you like the sound of The Young Friends, you will surely like the sound of the new band. It’s pretty much the same shit.