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    Last month, I was able to sit down with the band Frederick The Younger to talk about their upcoming album, their style of music and the atmosphere of their live shows. I had never witnessed a Frederick The Younger performance, and when I talked with them, they explained to me that their live shows are full of energy - more amped up than the overall tone and sound of their first EP, Warm Front. And when asked if their new album, Human Child, would have the same energy of their live shows, they assured me it would. “We wanted more energy…We wanted to add more parts, more dynamics, more layers of sound – we just wanted more,” they said when describing Human Child, which released on February 3rd. And they delivered. I joined in celebrating the release of Human Child at Headliners this past Friday, and the anticipation, the excitement, the musicality – the raucous energy – filled the building as they performed their freshman album.

    The equally talented and dynamic bands that preceded FTY, Voodoo Economics and Joann + the Dakota, galvanized the crowd with their performances and built anticipation for FTY by praising them before they took the stage that night. While FTY made sure to keep the crowd jumping and head-banging, the songs from their new album are lyrically potent and thematically intriguing. 

     “Horoscope” sets the tone and prepares us for the journey that is Human Child. It’s the first song on the album, and it shows the musical range of FTY. “Leaves Are Gone” is a guitar-heavy track with a quick pace and a dark, bold tone. The vocals in it are resonant and gritty, and the guitars parallel that pace and sound while adding their own crisp, distinct narrative. A slower track that propels Jenni Cochran’s vocals is “Tangerine.” It’s the sixth of the twelve-song album and serves as a calming bridge to the second half of the album. “Tangerine” is musically solid, and its guitar solo (as well as the guitar solos throughout the album) fits the unique mood of the song while giving it another layer of complexity and listenability. After “Tangerine,” the songs feature the vocals of Aaron Craker more prominently. His voice on “Lioness”, “Self Defense” and “You Take Your Time” are a departure from the sound that Cochran lends, but, nevertheless, it compliments hers and rounds out the album well.

    Fittingly, since Jenni is FTY’s lead singer, there is a recurring female protagonist throughout most of the album. This woman (or possibly a combination of women with varying experiences) is reflective and pensive. She is a wayward soul, not easily broken or deterred; she takes her triumphs in stride and uses her misfortunes as lessons. The lyrics of each song tell of personal navigation through life with a perspective that is grounded and keenly aware.

    “Human Child” – the song – is the most instrumentally vacant song on the album. It’s the outlier, yet still fits. It seems to drag the listener through the nostalgic terrain of the album as it describes the “human child” that is at the epicenter of FTY’s freshman release. Human Child is a great first album for the up-and-coming band, and it’s an album that doesn’t pigeonhole them into one particular sound or style. So while we enjoy their Human Child, we will eagerly wait to see what Frederick The Younger comes up with next.

    All photos by Christopher Gray

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    About Christopher Gray

    I'm a young scribe with a lot to say. And I'm happy to share.

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