Frederick The Younger
Frederick The Younger make music that’s easy to digest. Not in the sense of the soulless piano music you may hear in an elevator, that stuff goes in and out in the same instance. No, FTY make music that sits inside you, stays there, and your happy about it. They are ambient when it’s necessary, but lead singer Jenni Cochran’s vocals are always clear and present as if they are speaking directly to you. Wait, are you talking to me?
Human Child is a psychedelic blues masterpiece that isn’t blatantly psychedelic blues. As if they aren’t trying to sound any certain way, they just are and that’s why it feels so honest. It’s reminiscent of some of the greatest psychedelic acts like The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, and even The Pretty Things. That being said, FTY’s lyrics are much more relatable than some of the more psychedelic offerings from those groups.
An example of their ability to sound psychedelic and not be blatant about it is on the standout track “Tell Me.” The tom work on the drums with the constant shaker, the guitar lick at the end of each line Jenni sings, and the way the song grows constantly towards a big ending before that drops are all staples of great 60’s psychedelic rock. “Tell Me” at first glance however, sounds like a straight pop song. It’s layered and constructed in a way that hides how complex it is.
The most 60’s psychedelia influenced track on the album is “Leaves Are Gone.” To be completely honest this song brought back memories of watching the original “Austin Powers,” one of my favorite comedies of all time. Remember that Strawberry Alarm Clock song that plays when they arrive at The Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swinger’s Club?
“Leaves Are Gone” takes me there in the least cheesy way possible. It’s a serious song, just like “Incense and Peppermints” was before Mike Myers wore a blue velvet suit with a frilly lace cravat and danced like no one was watching to it.
The title track from the album, “Human Child” is the most emotional of the album. It’s an acoustic track, with sneaky samples for ambience but this track is about Jenni’s voice and the lyrics. Her voice here is raw and emotional. She has a lot of power in the way she sings but the chorus of “You are a human child” is low and soft until the song peaks near the end. And in that peak the power of her voice stands out clearly as what makes this band a unique force in music.
Human Child is a stellar release from one of Louisville’s best live bands. If you haven’t seen them live you should, and you can tonight 2/3 at Headliners with Joann + The Dakota for the album release (go here for more details). Do it!
Listen to Human Child in its entirety below: