REVIEW: Young Statues – ‘The Flatlands Are Your Friend’

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Artist: Young Statues
Album: The Flatlands Are Your Friend
Genre: Indie/Emo
Label: Run For Cover Records

I walked out of my apartment and took the elevator down to the lobby. I situated my headphones onto my ears, walked to the door, and saw that the rain was coming down in sheets. I was running late and since I was picking up my girlfriend from her night class, I didn’t have time to run back upstairs and grab an umbrella or jacket. So I hit play on the new Young Statues record, The Flatlands Are Your Friend, threw my hood up and began to walk through the rain. As the rain hit my face, and then my windshield, The Flatlands Are Your Friend mesmerized me, and continues to keep me hooked each and every late night drive.

The Flatlands Are Your Friend does not sound like the Young Statues you’re used to hearing. For those of you who are fans of the fantastic Age Isn’t Ours, the overwhelming joy that is present throughout the record frankly just isn’t present in this latest release. The Flatlands Are Your Friend is Young Statues at the darkest we’ve ever seen them, almost as if the record is more of a brooding older brother to the band’s previous material. This may turn off some fans of the band, but I cannot get enough of it. You can feel the headspace the band was in when this album was being written, and it is so emotive in its musicality that you can’t help but affix songs to certain memories, places, and times in your own life. Young Statues has always shown a curiosity in bringing in different types of sounds to their indie sound, but in The Flatlands Are Your Friend, we get a lot more of that, with dark synthesizers, and even rougher percussion instruments. I have to say, one of my favorite parts of the record is the overall production.

The record is grittier than previous releases, slightly less polished, with a more “live sound” really pushing through. This rawness makes the record feel, in a way, more cathartic, like Young Statues had to let their demons just flow out of their instruments and vocals, or the record would escape them. The overarching echo of the record puts you right in the space, as if you’re watching the band record the album before your eyes. You can feel the heart in songs like “No Shadow,” and the killer opener, “Natives.” The Flatlands Are Your Friend feels very much like one cohesive work, and forces you to stay in the moment with them for the entire duration of the album. There are very few bands that can pull that off these days, so when a band can grab your attention and flow from song to song so easily, you always know it’s something special.

The Flatlands Are Your Friend does not want you to feel happy in the same way previous releases from the band did. This is a record that deals with loss and sadness, almost to an obsessive point, which is not only exemplified in the dark music, but in the tortured singing of frontman Carmen Cirignano. These songs are the antithesis of songs like “Eraser” on Age Isn’t Ours, lingering on both happy and painful memories. Even when Cirignano sings of happier times, it hits hard, because they rarely sound hopeful. You can hear a lot of Death Cab For Cutie influences on this record, which is definitely welcome. You can feel your heart bleeding along with songs like “Further Away,” I continue to find myself mesmerized by the dark beauty of “Run the River Dry.” Frankly, there is something special about each and every song on the record, where breaking down each and every track would just be overkill.

With every echo, strum, snare hit, Young Statues sucked me into The Flatlands Are Your Friend, and forced me to sit down and just experience the record for what it is. Lots of records, especially in 2014 are easily thrown on in the background, and become closer to white noise than to music. Young Statues successfully created a moment for me, one that creates the mood for inflection, and stillness. As someone who rarely gives himself enough time to breath, I have a feeling this record will become very important to me over the next few months.

SCORE: 8.5/10
Review written by Tyler Osborne

Tyler Osborne

Live in DC, grew up in PA. I specialize in writing, filming and taking pictures about punk, pop-punk, and hardcore music, and I also have a huge background in film as well. When not on the site, i'm running my own internet radio show, ToZ's Edge Radio (www.facebook.com/tozedgeradio). I also love stage diving and goldfish.
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