Young Statues – “The Flatlands Are Your Friend” Review

Posted: by Colin

Listen To The Flatlands Are Your Friend while you read!

Listen To The Flatlands Are Your Friend while you read!

After Young Statues’ 2011 debut self-titled album, and 2013’s Age Isn’t Ours EP, the young band (no pun intended) found itself at a crossroads: forge on with an alternative, pop-friendly sound birthed from the EP, or create another chapter building off of their experimental, indie debut. They chose the latter, and it is unmistakable from the gently presented somber opening line “We only flock this town with the intent to burn it down, we only swim with you to watch you drown” – the first of many out of Cirgnano’s melancholy filled repertoire for Young Statues’ sophomore full length, The Flatlands Are Your Friend.

The maturation process and developmental leaps shown throughout The Flatlands Are Your Friend are a testament to the rigorously detailed and intricately woven sound of the band. Flawless transitions from part to part within songs, and from song to song within the context of album’s track list, establish a canvas that lets the band expand their sound and allows for some bold, courageous creative risks producing songs of raw emotion. Take for example the album’s third song, “Don’t Fight The Mirage”, a free-swinging three and a half minutes unlike anything the band has done before. After a powerful introduction to Flatlands with “Natives” and “Run The River Dry” which showcases the band’s ability to write authoritative, bruising songs (and arguably their best two songs to date) a brief intermission is only to be expected. However, the band calls upon “Don’t Fight The Mirage” an easy-going listen featuring loose “ohs and ahs” over jazzy, bluesy, and spirited verses and choruses.

After the climatic, slow burner “Got The Knife”, comes “No Shadow” and “Flood” two songs that are vastly different in pace and style, but are twin-like in a sense, because they contain similar underlying qualities of grunge and angst. These two are in a dog fight for the title of ‘most apprehensive’ on Flatlands. “No Shadow” begins quickly, but nervously. Fuzzy guitars and pronounced drum patterns are an initial, reserved staple within the song. This is only to be overpowered by a crushing guitar solo towards the back half, then lingering into Cirgnano’s final oppressive words, and giving way to “Flood” – a blazing, aggressive ballad (if there is such a thing) that punches and jabs right from the outset, paving the path for a very intriguing opening minute.

As briefly noted above, the extraordinary part of the album is that while each song dramatically varies in characteristic (as there are no 2 songs on Flatlands that could be confused for each other) the album keeps its descriptive dark theme, tone, and gloss. The presumed titled track “Flatlands Pt. II” is the perfect summarization of the claim mentioned. The song achieves everything that Young Statues has set out to accomplish; layered vocals over faint, recurring strings, which somehow maintain a driving force to create a hauntingly memorable hook, and overall intriguing song.

It’s hard to say that a record “speaks for itself” in an album review without coming across as being unable to articulate an opinion, but The Flatlands Are Your Friend does in fact express itself best. It’s a gripping piece of music about fleeing and restarting, about calamity and restoration, about lost memories and uncharted waters. A record that demands listeners to think critically about what is occurring, in order to understand and relate to what is being presented. Most importantly, The Flatlands Are Your Friend is an album about a band being able to pinpoint what’s imperative to them both sonically and thematically, and growing into a niche that will allow them to evolve and flourish in future releases.

– Colin