By Rob Duguay
As a rock & roll fanatic who gets bombarded with all different kinds of music on a daily basis either via the internet or during a face to face conversation with a friendly stranger, I'm always looking for that album that has the power to impact the way I feel about things on a higher level. When I say a higher level, I mean songs that have the electricity and emotion to touch your soul in a way you can wholeheartedly relate to. That's what The Young Leaves, a sludge-punk trio from Holliston, MA, have with their brand new album Alive & Well that's out today. Abundant with energy and angst, this album is as vintage as their late 80's and early 90's alternative rock influences as well as being contemporary with the fury and fire that's becoming a trademark of the underground DIY music scene in New England.
The Young Leaves' first album with New Jersey punk label Baldy Longhair Records, Alive & Well has an intensely clear sound that shows that this act has definitely progressed in both production and songwriting at an impeccable level. There are a lot of Elvis Costello comparisons to lead singer & guitarist Christopher Chaisson's voice going around from other people who have heard The Young Leaves, but I'd like to think that there is a distinct Bob Mould tinge to it instead. I'll even go far enough to say that Alive & Well is as good as Husker Du's Candy Apple Grey, that's how brilliant I think this album is. The dynamic riffs and rhythmic drums encompass a sound that should be able to make the likes of Lou Barlow, Doug Martsch and Blake Schwarzenbach stand in applause. It's a relief to know that there's still a band that puts out the kind of tunes that I fell in love with during my early teens and has always stuck with me since then, after listening to Alive & Well I hope you feel the same way.
Have you picked out your Halloween costume yet? Neither have I. That time of the year is steadily approaching and there isn't a better way to find out then to look at your calendar and see that we have entered the month of October in 2013. There also isn't a better way to find out how good the Album Of The Week is than to read my top tracks, even though I modestly encourage the loyal & faithful reader to take that upon themselves to see what they like. Anyways, this witty introduction might be getting as old as candy corn but here goes something:
You can't go wrong with the fuzz all over "That One Tree", if you don't become a one-person mosh pit while giving this one a listen I suggest turning it up louder. Remember when I was talking about the energy on this album? "Drowning Pool" is a prime example of that with lightning fast chords syncopating with feverish drums to make a ripper of a song. The story of rejection and love gone bad in "I'd Rather Be Hurt" is excellent at telling it consciously from a guy's point of view, you can feel the rage with every lyric. The last track with "In The Morning" is another ferocious anthem that tears the walls down and blows the roof off, what a better way to end an album than with a 3 minute frenzy? Like I said before, I encourage you to listen to every track off of Alive & Well and form your own opinion. Each song is bound to give a pleasant shock to your eardrums so sit back and enjoy the ride.
The Young Leaves will be celebrating the release of Alive & Well at O'Brien's Pub in Allston, MA with Born Without Bones, Save Ends and Betty Nico on October 11th, it should be one of the best shows to see in the Boston area this month so you should absolutely go. Hopefully they'll come play a show in Providence sometime soon, but until then you better grab a copy of The Young Leaves' Alive & Well. The album flat out rocks from front to back, there's really nothing more you could ask for.