Former Friends Of Young Americans Unleash estas diluculo!

Music For A Darkened Room And An Open Mind
estas diluculo’s Long Awaited Release Party

It’s become more and more rare these days when artists record an album for the sake of the album, meaning they want the album to be heard in its entirety, straight through, uninterrupted. So often in these days of MP3s and iPod shuffled realities we only attend to songs as listeners and artists then attend to that very same attention span. There are some bands, some artists and yes, some listeners still out there that remember the commitment of an album, the joy of spending the better part of an hour enjoying an entire work from beginning to end, losing themselves in the work as they would with a movie or a novel. Former Friends Of Young Americans have recently released an album suited for just those tastes, an album to get lost in as a whole, to fall into late night dreams with, to enjoy distant recorded company and feel a certain soul satisfaction in being literally drawn into the work, wondering where it will lead your mind next. This is estas diluculo to a tee, an album to get lost in, to lose yourself in aurally and let your mind wander its effervescent soundscape endlessly.

Former Friends Of Young Americans estas diluculo also happens to be the first release from Black Cactus Records in a long time, too long after a strong start early last year, and I rejoice in their return to releasing records once more, here is to hoping them a strong return in the New Year. The album is also the culmination of a year-long recording endeavor by the band members. “The album we just recorded we’ve worked on for a year,” said Toby Fatzinger. “We did it all ourselves in terms of recording/engineering, writing (obviously).  It was mastered by Carl Saff of Saff Mastering in Chicago.” There new album far exceeds what their previous EP releases hinted at, the majesty of their shoegazing spectrum drawn wide, while I want to break it down track by track, it almost seems a disservice to the work to do so. This is heavy mind music with heavy thoughts and endless reflections on the textures of sound that float through you as you sit in the darkness listening to it breathing in the endlessly woven patterns and melodies.

“With estas diluculo though, it was important that we had unlimited time and resources recording-wise,” Fatzinger said.  “Me (guitar, vocals, keys), Matt Townsend (guitar, percussion, noise), and Masa Schmalle (drums) have always had to make certain sacrifices with our previous projects when it came to writing, recording and releasing albums.  We didn’t want to do that with this one.”  It is clear when listening to to estas diluculo that this is both a labor of love and a practice in artistic precision, of ensuring that that the vision comes to fruition. “One of the big things I picked up from working with Jalipaz in the past was the importance of honesty in a project,” Fatzinger said. “In my mind though, I felt like an album should be a true representation of the artists material and should accurately illustrate their intentions.  That’s why it seemed imperative for us to have the ability to work on the album at our leisure.”

“With estas diluculo we tried to bring the listener in and make them want to hear the album in its entirety without skipping through songs or picking out favorite parts,” Fatzinger said. The album does just that opening with a beautiful 20 second a capella invocation called “Lonliness” (sic), before it quickly converts to “Memo To An End,” which provides an amazing juxtaposition in 99 seconds to the organic harmonies with rhythmic mechanical industrial sounds, over which a lone voice sings “Oh, my life…”, one of the striking lyrics emerges with, “This temporary wish that I had abandoned for you.” “Hopefully Deadly” launches after two contrasting intros and the album really kicks off but it’s not your ordinary tune, and nothing is on this album, it’s placed in many movements, quickly shifting when they do. “Things’ll be fine, never you mind, just berate yourself…” stands out in the second, the third movement in is the chorus, unless you count the break, while the fourth movement is lovely wordless vocals over percussion and noise, almost hopeful, yet winsome and wistful at once. Amazing

“Though I cringe at the phrase ‘concept album’ it was certainly our hope that the album would be akin to watching a movie or something,” Fatzinger said. I couldn’t agree more, my first though upon listening to the album was “Cinematic.” I’m not sure you even need to hear the lyrics to watch the movie play as the music is able to tell the story alone, but the words nudge you along, perhaps subconsciously. “Botero” is startling as it explodes from the previous songs Angelic closing, and it is something of a pocket symphony masterpiece here, once more a study in movements and phases, that explodes two minutes in with searing guitar and the visceral lyrics, “Come hold my hand, say my name, stand up straight, walk away, lay back down, spread your legs, say my name, say my name…” Stunning and somewhat psychologically thrilling in a very cinematic sense, and once more within moments the movie has moved elsewhere to dwell in other moods and musings.

“The album is pretty much about growing up and how that process never seems to end.  Crossroads, moving on, responsibility, drama, freedom from attachment, all that shit,” Fatzinger said.  I love melodrama and I love admitting that I love melodrama.”  “Planned History” is the closest they come to an indie pop hit here and it is also the nexus of lyrical wisdom here—it’s what the albums loose concept is aiming toward. “How many times will it take, to tell you this is over with, how many laws must I break in this charade, open your eyes and see how many lies are next to me…” The lyrics here are priceless and something that is near universal in life’s realizations. “Over and over again, we find the same means to the same end, hoping our troubles will simply go away, but only when the pain of staying the same outweighs the fear of change will we hope to grow up…” Absolutely brilliant. 

In “Daytime,” twisted electronic noises provide the foreground and back drop, while angelic harmonies and hazy vocals fill in the middle ground on this dreamy number. I think it’s funny how a song called “Daytime” is the most hypnagogic of the album, until the last minute and a half where it ascends into guitar pop revelry as though the twilight state has given way to full on fantasy of the dreamscape.

“Emoticon Paradigm” is another of the longer numbers where, after two and half minutes as a consistent song, it has to break and twist, fall apart into a Sonic Youth-esque orchestrated anarchy before it comes back again to an abrupt quiet calm. “I hope you believe I tried, no matter how much I lied,” the vocals return to their place in the midst of the noise.

 “As I get older and look back on the feelings that cause so much drama when we’re young (serious drama, life or death drama) the absurdity of it all becomes that much more evident,” Fatzinger said. “It’s all such an interesting subject to me, how we can hold onto this absurdity well into old age if we so choose.  I also love the imagery of young people (particularly young Americans), how they are so primped and polished and appear to think that they are the only people on earth.  It’s funny, absurd, lovely and relatable.”

 “All In Time” is another short song, a refrain, an echo of the sentiments already presented and almost a point at which the lyrics seem to be describing the music, drifting apart and fading back. This soon gives way to “What Now?” an amazing, last stop apocalyptic closer: “I never trusted happiness or the pain that usually comes with it…” Amazing. “Now this conversation’s dry, I can’t seem to find the words to let you go.” It then finishes poetically with another harmonic round where the title is entwined, soon found by a hurricane of drums and guitars. It seems almost perfect that they would not end on a note of desolation with an album that surrounds itself with overcoming the trappings of the melodrama of youth, and so “Open Book” seamlessly emerges with a very nearly, jaunty march declaring “Your life’s not an open book, like mine! The things you do, you do inside my mind, how discreet can you be, when you’re living in the image of the Virgin Mary.” It is a most unexpected ending to a most unexpected album. I guarantee this album will carry on with me for the rest of the year, as it should with you, because, it is already one of the greatest artistic achievements in 2012. Groundbreaking music that affords no contrived comparisons or genre specification, this is simply brilliant music designed for a darkened room and an open mind.

 Be sure to catch Former Friends Of Young Americans all over town this weekend. First on Friday,  April 13th they will be at Long Wong’s supporting Wooden Indian’s FBOM Friday with Colorstore and Nicholas Villa. Then on Saturday, April 14th the  long awaited release party for estas diluculo at FilmBar with Wooden Indian, Nicholas Villa and Mantle Soundcore will be visiting from San Francisco to open and project visuals during FFOYA’s set.  Copies of the album will be available for sale, in the  meantime, you can check out the links below and listen to the album or download it for free

Listen and Download estas diluculo Here!

Official Former Friends Of Young Americans Website