[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
An exuberant sophomore effort from New York City’s You. They capture the zeal of youth and the fearless, sometimes reckless approach to life we all knew. The main difference is that unlike myself, their exhortations are going to be remembered by those who own this and not just recalled hazily by an individual; have no doubts, You. are a band who have a date with destiny. Now what that destiny is… anyone’s guess. I think they’re going on instinct with what they do and those instincts are leading them down quite a riveting path. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that their reference points on ‘Sunchaser’ are two of my favorite records ever made: ‘Chairs Missing’ by Wire and ‘Movement’ from New Order.
The vocals conjure up the disaffected, dismal stylings of Colin Newman quite convincingly but unlike Newman, Trever Millay never gets truly enraged by his surroundings. He’s resigned to where he finds himself and more than happy to just stay there and given how precisely that drum machine is programmed that’s no bad thing. On the subject of that, it’s been a very VERY long time since I heard a band using this sort of thing to anchor their songs; it’s not as easy as you might think to play in time with a 303 (I’m guessing at the model, apologies if I’m wrong) in the context of a band setting. It will never deviate from the parameters it has been given, but those humans, well, they’re not so infallible.
Something else which You. bring out of mothballs is the anemic 80s school dance anthem. I can’t describe it any better but if you lived in that era and you were at one of these, towards the end of the night some bright light would tire of simply hinting at the anxiety the boys and girls felt and would play a track like “Recognize” to force the issue. It’s a forgotten skill to know how to write one of these but the instant the needle grazed over the line and into this one I recognized (ha!) it immediately. Scott Keirnan is the unsung hero of this piece, he must have effects pedals stacked from floor to ceiling. His playing, along with Lee Lichsinn’s bass keep it all in focus while all throughout ‘Sunchaser’ another fellow creates the splendidly decrepit textures they contrast against.
His name is Brad Taormina and I really hope he does a solo album at some point. This guy understands atmosphere and casts all eight of these tracks in a maudlin, grey light. I’m playing favorites here but I’ve always been partial to keyboardists, they’re the ones who usually make the noises that go undetected by the listener until you sit down and really listen. Then the textures and progressions start to peek out from between the guitar and bass lines and you wonder how you missed them.
An auspicious record and one which is going to be investigated only more frequently as time passes.