Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Without too much effort, it's easy to just continue with the thematic construction of Colin Caulfield's first album as the musical entity of Young Man. He titled the record, "Boy," and the sixth and eighth tracks in the sequence are named, "Just A Growin'" - one being a remixed version of the original - and along the way, we get "Bedtime" and "Playtime," "Hands" and "Home Alone." There's no shortage of imagery that will take us to those precocious years of development, of learning how to learn and learning how to see and feel about next to everything. Caulfield did not write a record that takes on the ideas of childhood in any kind of short or dumbed down way and really, we're not really sure who thinks about childhood the way that this newcomer does. He himself, and the three friends that make up the live unit of this group, have been attending college in Chicago for the past few years and also spent half of last year studying together abroad in France, where they were able to hop on bills in various clubs, with bands the likes of Local Natives and now they're signed to the same North American label (Frenchkiss) as the Natives and growing up fast. They've got one year of study left and then, it's out into the cold, cruel world - so these ideas of living young and developing as young men as the living is good are the touchstones for all matters of thinking at this point. Caulfield has written some dandies on this album, combining what seems to be a winsome and fetching grasp on the vagrancies of growing up and into a mind and body that were there for the taking when you started developing in the womb and a highly entrancing taste for the coolest aspects of all of indie guitar rock since the 1980s. It's a more spacey and less bombastic version of what Built To Spill do with their guitars, but Young Man takes its music into more rambling and resourceful pastures, getting vocal and getting sweet when the time calls for it. Caulfield brings us a slightly nasally vocal style similar to that of the one that Tallest Man On Earth Kristian Matsson - the Swedish maker of all-American hobo songs - and even that of Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig utilize to such great effect and we're drawn into the cosmic forces that he dances with. The youth and manhood that Caulfield seems to write about are ones that are known to reach their completions or abrupt transitions in the blink of a dreamy eye and suddenly, much of what used to be so known and so situated has faded away and you're left with empty hands and ashes. He makes a dramatic mood and examines those wants and those needs that tend to change shape and importance in a hurry as the years open up a little bit, as everything starts to get more serious.