Friday, November 9, 2012
Pitstop: You Won't
It's a common trope for music-writers, show-goers, and the like to declare a winner of a festival virtually any time there is one. And it's one I've pretty much refrained from doing myself because truth be told there's really no one winner of a festival, maybe not even a handful. Anyone who gets to see a great show put on by a great band is a winner and likewise any band that brings there A game and makes even at least one new fan has already achieved what so many other bands have not. But if I had to pick one of my favorite bands of this year's CMJ, well the choice would have to be Massachusetts folk-pop duo You Won't.
Well, in addition to getting a pair of two incredibly musicians and probably two of the most genial guys you're bound to meet, You Won't accomplished a feat at this year's CMJ that pretty much topped any/every band that played this year regardless of hype, popularity, or even sheer talent. You Won't engaged their audience unlike any other. During their set at I Guess I'm Floating's Floating Fest CMJ showcase, the two-some took to the crowd, entered it, and played. Two beautiful, sparse acoustic songs framed around Josh Arnoudse's gripping vocals with their slight rasp, while multi-instrumentalist Raky Sastri accompanied him first on harmonium and then on floor tom. I knew instantly that no show that week would top it. Maybe even no show this year.
And such creativity and innovation comes to the duo naturally. No intense plotting necessary. This is evident on their debut full length Skeptic Goodbye. Where singer/songwriter sorts might very well be a dime a dozen, You Won't stand out from the crowd. Both for Arnoudse's stellar songcraft both lyrically as well as in composition - his songs filled with clever wit meshed into a perfectly balanced playful cantor along with intensely memorable pop-leaning presentation. For which Sastri, the album's producer, also deserves ample credit as well as his evident talent as drummer (among other things) spicing up his accompaniment with exciting drum beats and unexpected instrumental flourishes. Together the two put a terrific new spin on the age-old wandering troubadour, dressing him up in a slightly newer cloak of rock riffs ("Dance Moves") and catchy pop choruses ("Three Car Garage", "Television"). The end result is an album of peaks and valley solely in mood as the level of talent maintains an almost bewildering high.
So while the concept of winning a festival remains silly and flawed, one thing is most certainly clear. The two times I happened upon You Won't during my adventures, they won my heart. And if you happen to be lucky enough to see them live, they'll win yours too. Their album is stellar but their live set is better. An absolutely incredible band of unfathomable talent.
Get a taste of You Won't with a stream of their debut album Skeptic Goodbye and being plotting your next You Won't live experience.