Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Sept. 28, 2018
Behind a rare trio of songwriters – Taylor Williams, Graham Weber, and Matthew Gregg – Western Youth fuses one of the tightest units in town. From the opening bite of three-guitar Cerberus "Dyin' on the Vine" to the harmony-rich swell of "Valerie," this debut LP plumbs moody and triumphant Americana behind sharpened hooks and smooth melodies. Williams' lead on "The King Is Gone" serves as centerpiece, while "California" lays down a lonely moan that echoes Will Johnson and "Hangin' On" trades defiance between Weber and Williams. The slowly unfolding "Lost the War" anchors the back half, Jaimee Harris' guest vocal blooming in the background like a stubborn memory. Weber's "Scarred" and "Norah" deliver deep-album gems. Weber and Williams make an especially formidable pairing, the former's poetic narratives mixing with the latter's addictive anthems to blend in a perfectly calibrated balance.