Young Buffalo, Young Von Prettylips
Life is telling me to grow up. With a few extra degrees under my belt, it’s time that I end my life as a professional graduate student and land a real job. Goodbye, t-shirt and jeans; hello to the shackles of button-up shirts tucked into slacks.
There is a slow-moving typhoon of adulthood just beyond the horizon, set to rearrange my life and reclassify everything as “old.” Soon, the music that I love will be forgotten — or worse, be stripped down and sampled for some tacky God-forsaken dubstep song. Just one last time, before responsibility overwhelms me, I want to re-experience the simple and pure joy of the music of my youth. It’s something we all can relate to and often search for. Sometimes the answer springs forth from the most unlikely of places — in this case, from the small college town of Oxford, Mississippi.
The strangely-named Young Von Prettylips is your standard five-track EP. With only a handful of tracks, it’s difficult to create a positive impression; EPs seem better suited to introduce listeners to music they hate rather than musicians they could love. Most bands conservatively lay down a few cuts in the hope of generating enough interest for a full-length.
Thankfully, Young Buffalo decided to go all out. Young Von Prettylips begins with “Only We Can Keep You from Harm,” a slightly risky song composed of distinct segments of somber, monastic chants that suddenly switch into jangly indie-rock with layered vocals. It’s a song that makes little sense and requires a few passes before you’re on-board. “Speak EZ” and “Bury Me” are far more palatable and do well to show the musical competence of the band. Despite a good effort, though, both songs are slightly forgettable, due to the quality of the two middle tracks.
For very different reasons, Young Von Prettylips owes its success to “Full Metal Whacket” and “Catipilah.” Whether it’s the bookending of the song with rim taps, the synth arpeggio in the second chorus, or the post-punk revival guitar riff during the bridge, it’s the little things in “Full Metal Whacket” that work together to make a wonderfully boisterous song.
Following “Full Metal Whacket,” Young Von Prettylips continues its upward climb with “Catipilah.” In a 3-minute-and-23-second moment of ingenuity, Young Buffalo fuse the best of indie-rock into the delightfully infectious track. There is almost an alternative rock quality to “Catpilah” — its use of contrasting dynamics creates desperately composed verses that unravel into a wonderfully frantic chorus.
Young Buffalo have managed something very special with “Catipilah” and, by extension, Young Von Prettylips; after all, songs don’t embody these qualities. Rather, the Oxford trio has created a song that touches an emotional core that results in an enjoyment that at times, is difficult to describe. In a sense, it’s best to describe Young Von Prettylips with a bit of youthful simplicity: it’s not perfect, but I love it.