If you were to ever judge an album by its cover, this would be the one. Musician/ producer Colin Caulfield has a young lifetime of emotional angst going on in his head, and like many 20-somethings, he just might be stuck in a CD-size case of emotions. Young Man’s LP. Vol. 1 is the second installment in a three LP cycle by Caulfield. Vol. 1 follows Caulfield’s debut Young Man album Ideas of Distance, and serves as his first studio album with a full band. It's an album which unmistakably seeks to grab you back along the journey of life Ideas of Distance started.
Caulfield’s personal journey follows in the footsteps of indie-rock greats before him. Around the year 2009, Young Man’s leader was posting YouTube videos covering bands like Beach House and The Velvet Underground. Bradford Cox stumbled upon his Deerhunter’s “Rainwater Cassette Exchange” cover, posted it on his blog, and praised it as better than the original. (And yeah, that’s a fair statement.) Soon after being signed to Frenchkiss Records, Caulfield released a 2010 EP, Boy, which received critical acclaim. He then set out on a conceptual effort to release three full-length albums within eighteen months spanning the fleeting years of emerging into adulthood.
Vol. 1opens with the rightfully titled track “Heading,” in which a far off voice perhaps wakes the listener from a party they’ve stayed at far too long. “Heading” flows right into “Thoughts,” an acoustic ballad with far-off ethereal sounds and wooing. The track “Do,” repeats, “I just don’t know what life is,” on top of a progressive guitar riff leading to the optimistic stand-out track of the album. Caulfield repeats, “What I want for you to have / Is to have something I never had in my life at all / What I want you to have is/ Take, take time to do just what you want to do.” The album commences with “Directions,” which seems to shift the listener from the passenger seat to the review mirror. Caulfield still has questions, “Is it wrong to have a life? / Is it strange to pass it by? / Is it in it for me to try/ I want to know / Can you tell me if two things that I admire / a good house, a good family / are more than I should need?” He still admits in the chorus, “I don’t know where I’m going,” but after almost an hour deciding, that statement might be the only answer we can all really be sure of. As a whole, each track on Vol. 1is like a stream of consciousness in which no significant thought stands out from the whole. It’s the soundtrack of the internal monologue of, well, a young man.
Caulfield is supported by guitarist Emmett Conway, bassist Joe Bailey, drummer Dylan Andrews and synth player Jeff Graupner, most of whom have been playing live with Caulfield on tours with Cold War Kids, Givers, and more. Vol. 1 was recorded over several weeks at Chicago’s Soma Studios with producer John McEntire, best known for his work with indie-rock companions Tortoise and The Sea and Cake, as well as production/ engineering credits for Broken Social Scene.
Vol. 1 isn’t the most radical insight on life and change, but Caulfield has found a way to play exactly what it might sound like when you drive from your past into your future. It might sound familiar and insignificant to those who have arrived at their fate, but to those still getting there; it sure is a comfort to just keep driving.
3. By And By