April 30, 2008

Local Band, Immature Youth, Comes of Age … Again

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Local band IY hasn’t gone by Immature Youth since their bygone middle school days, and with their third album For Fire (set to be released May 17) the title has been left completely behind. The band’s sophomore release, Two Letters, was pretty grown-up, but For Fire (which I will refer to as the second coming … of age) has stepped way out of the box and up to the plate. Uhh, mic. Up to the mic.
IY is Ithaca natives Dana Billings (drums), Chris Frank (guitar, vocals), Nate Terepka (guitar, keys, vocals, tambourine) and John Zinder ’09 (bass). For Fire was recorded by IY and Will Russell of Electric Wilburland. ‘Mixing and Mastering’ was done by Matthew Saccuccimorano. The album boasts a better balance than I’ve heard from these guys before: Chris Frank is a bit more reserved (sounds super on “Candles”) and Nate Terepka is much more kick-ass — vocals by him on “Room Project,” “Rain” and “Stay Awake” are simply stunning. They also stray away from the once-staple electric guitar rhythms, moving back to basic acoustic and shakers, but with some fancy new toys thrown in. An E-Bow (a battery powered bow that emits electromagnetic frequencies which vibrate the string) and a Nord Synth that probably cost a small fortune.
The first song, “Room Project,” one of my favorites on the album, immediately demonstrates the band’s newfound maturity. The second, “House Comes Home,” takes a step back to the classic IY, but also a step up. A resounding hi-hat in the drums and some super production adds a layer of darkness that was lacking before (I have always described IY to my friends as ‘happy music’). “Sunlight” seems to take new inspiration from Cake, and “Rain” is another IY classic — a rollickin’, rockin’, don’t-you-dare-sit-through-this-one kind of beat (though the drums seem a tad lackluster compared with the rest).
The incontestable winner, however, is the final song, “Stay Awake.” This song blew my mind. Nate Terepka should be enshrined and placed next to A.D. White on the Arts quad, so that he too may haunt innocent virgin passersby at midnight. All of them should, really, for this song. It sounds, to put it delicately, bitchin’.
“Stay Awake” pushes the whole album, and the band, in a direction they’ve never been and demonstrates a new maturity of sound. At the same time, it’s still IY, which is great. This, in fact, can be said of the whole album: “Something old, something new …” (there’s not really anything borrowed or blue, and no one’s getting married). The record is a mix of classic IY and new experimentation, and it really paid off.
Dana, Chris, Nate and John did a phenomenal job with this album. Big round of applause, guys. And I’m super happy because now I have new study music before anybody else does (hehehehehe). IY’s two previous albums have more plays than almost anything on my iTunes, because they’re my favorite music to study (and dance) to. I highly recommend you shell out a few bucks for this baby come May 17.