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Album Review: St. Croix EP by Family of the Year

By Josh Rice posted Dec 08, 2011 at 03:37 PM

Family of the Year's new St. Croix EP is in rotation at WVUM. We're playing it, so of course it's good... but how good? Read on to find out.

Family of the Year opens up their new EP with a sparkling, feel-good tune, “St. Croix.” Bright instrumentation and a relaxed, catchy rhythm make the opener enjoyable on the first listen, as the vocals employ listeners to “bring the ocean” as the song promises to “bring the motion.” Indeed, the listener may find some motion of their own, as the song is immediately danceable in a very calm way. The song closes out with twinkling acoustic guitars and foreign-sounding percussion.

“Living on Love” switches pace fairly quickly with a catchy electronic intro and harmonized vocals. Overdriven guitar compliments the light vocals and the opposing forces create an intriguing sonic tour in just over three minutes. Listeners will find themselves entertained by the constant bouncing back-and-forth between guitars, synthesizers, and switches in vocal pacing.

Following the heavier “Living on Love,” “6 AM” opens with a slightly folksy guitar intro and restrained vocals. A pleasant love song, it tells a tale of insecurity and discontent, a struggle between loneliness and what’s truly right for the individuals involved. The song keeps instrumentation simple, but builds vocals with layers throughout the song, which lends to the emotive nature. Again, Family of the Year employs immediate musical contrast; as the vocals build, the listener is somewhat shocked by a return to a single layer of vocals. The song builds gracefully and ends peacefully, creating an entire emotional and musical journey.

Heavy percussion and light piano introduce “Chugjug.” Striking female vocals dominate the song; its rhythm and sound revolve around the slightly sunken harmonies of the band’s vocalists. While arguably the weakest song on the EP, Chugjug is worth a listen if only to appreciate the diversity of the EP’s offerings. Fans of newer alt-folk will enjoy the song.

Rounding off the EP is a remix of St. Croix, the Hooray for Earth Mix. Uncharacteristically dark and thumping, Family of the Year delivers yet another pleasant surprise. While the original mix of the song is upbeat and almost encouraging of a fun time, the Hooray for Earth Mix is much more meditative. When the hook hits, however, the listener realizes the Family of the Year created an almost entirely different song with the original’s same addictive qualities. The album fades out with an ambient conclusion, which invites a repeated listen to the whole piece.

Catch Family of the Year on WVUM’s rotation, 24/7 live on 90.5 FM and at wvum.org.









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