South Jersey indie rock four piece Young Statues became something of a surprise hit about six years ago.
Led by songwriter Carmen Cirignano, the band started super casually; just a writing and recording project with friends at Haddon Heights hub Gradwell House Recording. Those sessions became their self titled debut, which was picked up by Boston label Run for Cover Records, and Young Statues was off to the races touring with Saves the Day and The Early November.
The band’s sound, undeniably indebted to Death Cab and The Promise Ring, played well with those crowds, but their tastes went beyond the emo canon. Their 2014 sophomore LP The Flatlands are Your Friend, explored darker and moodier sounds and textures, and a covers EP showcased a collective fondness for Billy Bragg, The Magnetic Fields and Ryan Adams. And then life came calling.
The band went on a bit of a hiatus following Flatlands when Cirignano and his wife set to the business of raising newborn twins and bassist Tom Ryan got busy working at Union Transfer, Boot & Saddle and sitting in as a touring bassist for The Early November. (Guitarist Matt Weber remains busy at Gradwell House.)
But this year, the band regrouped — something that was as unexpected as their initial brush with success. Young Statues was offered a tour of Japan and jumped at the opportunity, using it also as an excuse to dust off some songs that had been kicking around in their notebooks and old practice tapes.
The Amarillo EP was released this year on Osaka label Flake Records to coincide with the tour, and in this week’s Key Studio Session, Cirignano and his bandmates play three of its songs live.
The band, which is rounded out by Daniel Bogan on drums, is now comfortably distanced from the pop-punk origins they never felt entirely comfortable with anyway. They’re in their late 20s and early 30s, they’re cool with that, and they use this new set of songs to explore a broader palette of sounds and styles.
Opener “Somebody Else” drives like the classic Young Statues anthems Cirignano wrote so well, but with a rootsy turn; amid the jangling guitars and vocal harmonies with Weber, we hear harmonica on the bridge; clearly Adams’ spirit is present here.
“Dive” is a spaced-out number guided by atmospheric sound loops, while “True Liberty” has a frenzied Hüsker Dü thing going on; watch a video of that one above.
The set is closed out with a gentle, semi-acoustic rendition of “Half Light” from their 2011 self-titled record. Listen to their entire Key Studio Session below, and see the band’s return to the Philly stage tomorrow night at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Johnny Brenda's, The Key Studio Sessions, Young Statues