Young Alumni’s Self-Titled EP
“To say I was surprised by Young Alumni’s EP is a bit of an understatement. While everyone believes that their local talent is good, this band has created a sound that is moving, fun, and well-balanced.” -Beth YeckleyBeth Yeckley
out of 10
April 30, 2010
I have to say that right now, I couldn’t feel more privileged to be in Georgia. It makes me smile knowing that I’m within reasonable driving distance to some wonderful up-and-coming artists here and in South Carolina, including Austin Crane, Amy Godwin, and now, Young Alumni. Led by vocalist and guitarist Steven Fiore, the Charleston-based band is a charming trio offering well-arranged instrumentation infused with a little ‘60s inspired pop melody. Fiore’s vocals are smooth and engaging, and carry a sing-along quality that is not dependent on reaching girly falsettos. Hard to resist, this five song EP is one of the most thoughtfully composed offerings I’ve heard this year.
“Signals and Snow” has an intro akin to spaceships landing or alien vaporizing (would I know what either of those sound like) that breaks into a surprisingly pleasant chatter between guitars and drums. It reminds me a little of The Format’s vibe meets The Strokes’ guitars, with a glossier finish. “Old Tom” is a little funkier and easily a dance track for a summer party. Its body is a repetitious, fuzzy guitar riff that rarely stops to take a breath, save for chorus interludes and guitar solos.
The tempo on this EP remains relatively lively, with “Light Gun” being the only track that brings a welcomed moodiness and reflective vocal tone, singing: “The invention of the light gun/ Grew from the depths of/ A boy’s imagination/ Oh what fu-u-u-un/ Now we’re under laser fire/ The world is on a thin wire/ Why didn’t we listen.”
“Styrofoam Airplane” is a lovely song, void of percussion and introducing an acoustic guitar element. It offers a musical clarity that doesn’t fare better than the other songs, but is the sort of song that you could add to a mix where the other songs might not belong. Backing vocals add an ethereal nature to the already stripped down song. Fiore sings, “Styrofoam airplane take me away from home/ We could fly to places unknown/ We could get so high/ Styrofoam airplane I wish to be alone/ Take me to an island where the lilacs grow/ And they reach the sky.”
To say I was surprised by Young Alumni’s EP is a bit of an understatement. While everyone believes that their local talent is good, this band has created a sound that is moving, fun, and well-balanced. And although Fiore takes center stage, Matthew Apted (drums) and Mick Matricciano (bass) do a fantastic job of supporting the vocals and weaving sweet instrumental details into the songs. I am definitely looking forward to seeing these guys perform live.