Music Review-The Young Leaves “Big Old Me”
The Young Leaves are three kids from the mean streets of Brockton that have honed the art of producing guitar driven indie down to such a sweet science that even luminaries such as fellow Brockton-ite Marvelous Marvin Hagler have to give these guys props. Largely, the product of singer/guitarist Christopher Chaisson, “Big Old Me is a dozen smartly crafted pop tunes that pay large homage to the times when “alternative rock” was just starting to catch a foothold on the radio an you got to hear something new and exciting for maybe the first time, as opposed to the same old dreck.
“Backhanded compliment!” You say? Then you my friend, simply never had a between semesters summer job as an overnight newspaper delivery boy. You don’t remember those heady times where “Nevermind” kicked open some new doors and craptacular hair metal bands shuffled off to the bargain bin aisle of your local CD shop. When you’re driving a 1986 Honda Accord Hatchback with a busted tape deck and two and a half working speakers, and you’re out at four in the morning, making twelve cents a paper with no tips because you keep forgetting what clients want their paper on the third step and what ones want it in between the screen and front door, and when one of your clients has a pet sheep that head butts your car every morning then shits in the exact spot you need to step in to get back inside the car then you best make friends with the local overnight DJ because sometimes hearing “Web In Front” on the radio is the only thing that keeps you sane. So if that was your summer before junior year you just might damn well appreciate how awesome it was to hear Buffalo Tom Archers of Loaf, Superchunk and Sugar on the radio nearly every hour.
So the fact that these kids would have been at the age where you were more prone to sing along to ‘The Itsie Bitsie Spider” or ‘Hi My Name Is Joe I work in a button factory” as opposed to when “Hyper Enough” would have been on the airwaves is all the more amazing to me. The Young Leaves manage to translate post high school ennui with amps and sticks and create something pretty damn impressive. At time super polished indie pop that veers close to pop punk territory, at other times feedback drenched guitar nirvana worthy of early Husker Du, these guys have got my attention. The cut “Look Sharp, Die Young” is worthy of anything musically Superchunk would have put out in the early nineties, and Chaisson manages to toss off the lines “What if I didn’t speak anymore?/ Settled the score/I’d just end ups till bored“ while sounding like the slightly nasally cousin of a young Elvis Costello. ‘Big Me” is pop-rock reminiscent of Buffalo Tom until a minute and a half remains in the cut. At that point the drums and bass lay down a killer near-dub bass line that sets a fantastic groove, letting the guitar come in for a sweet little solo before ripping the whole thing to shreds in a cacophony of noisy feedback driven squalls. Then, just when you think the whole thing is back on track at the drop of a dime for some pop hooks to close it out. Seriously, if you loved J Masics early guitar work from the SST days, then hop on board with this band. “Big Old Me” has that late period aid back Braid feel to it. It’s growing on me, like, a lot.
So here’s the bummer. It looks like these guys are no more. After another fruitless two hour drive for a show, where they were turned away for not being twenty one, they’ve decided to pack it in. It’s really too bad, because these guys put on an awesomely powerful live show, with a “these amps on eleven” noise fest. If they were a few years older living in squalor in Allston, they could be the O’Briens bar house band instead of languishing in obscurity. I’m about two minutes away from asking if they’ll stay together if we can get five hundred people to send them pictures of their peen or boobs.
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