When the news broke that Portland quartet Youth were breaking up, my heart was broken. They had just released a pretty great EP and had already released one of my favorite songs ("Want You to Know") and suddenly that would be no more. However there was a bit of good news with the band, instead of one band Youth would be splitting into two: Maggie Morris, Stephen Leisy went on to form Genders drafting Katherine Paul and Matthew Hall into the fold and Elec Morin would be setting out solo.
Considering the rather slow pacing of Youth's releases, I'm pretty impressed with the fact that Genders managed to put out an EP this year. The band formed in April and in this short 3 song EP have already managed to completely eclipse the potential and promise of their former band. Maggie's taken the helm and proves to be an excellent frontwoman. The EP may only be a small taste of the band at play (unless you're lucky enough to live on the northwest coast where you can catch the occasional live set) but it shows a versatility untapped in their previous incarnation. Sure there's the summer beach-rock that colored Youth's best songs and made June so fun but there's more than that at work here. From the very Givers-eque introduction of "Golden State" to the dark electro-pop lean of "Twin Peaks" (which sounds astonishingly similar to The Pass' "Without Warning")
The EP are three very different on Genders' psychedelic beachy pop rock an yet none of them seem at all out of place. Showing off varying skills without displacing any of the established others. Each are jams in their own way, from sort of back-beat heavy pop influence to straight-forward Bay area rock, each is handled in just the right way to make you love it. Who would've thought that a change in artistic direction was all Genders needed to kick it into high gear. While the lazy day summer rock of Youth was certainly pleasant and full of charm, the blistering tempi and tight-knit precision are definite winners. On their EP, Genders show us all why they're worthy of sticking around. Capitalizing on their likes and what they learned in Youth and expanding it to reach a level of musicianship I was wholly unexpecting. Here's hoping there's more to come from Genders because anything else would be an utter crime.
Get a listen to their three-song EP and fall in love with Genders.