When the last notes of "I Will Not Be Denied" rang out I had to drop what I was doing. That's it. We're done here. I thought. Here's the best album of 2013.
If you saw yesterday's list then that pronouncement isn't exactly a spoiler alert. I don't have a real explanation as to why I dallied on writing this review, but I'm more than pleased to begin 2014 with it.
Pastoral is everything anyone could ever want in music: gentle melodies, gorgeous lyrics, and heartfelt musicians who collaborate to make you Feel Things. Kutchma has a rare talent: making the plainspoken truth soar like poetry.
While "End of the World" and "Every Good Boy Does Fine" are fantastic songs alone, "Teenage DMZ" is what truly caught my ears.
They say You need an education
They say This boy just needs some ambition
And they say Boy you just need some salvation
I don’t understand
Cause they stand there with their prescriptions
And their goddamn televisions
The got their augmentations
All I do is go
Kutchma owns this song -- he's just about to explode with the invigorating energy of good music. You can't help but join him. And, if we're being perfectly honest, Kutchma perfectly captures the youthful frustration I face the brunt of every day.
The band is able to mellow out, of course, but that doesn't mean their quieter songs are less powerful. "Don't It Figure Better" is as self-defeating as "Teenage DMZ" is empowering. The band inhabits all areas of the emotional spectrum with ease and confidence. Pastoral is an album for any mood and every day.
J Kutchma and the Five Fifths -- Official, Facebook, Purchase on Last Chance Records, Bandcamp