What has four kids and sounds like O Brother Where Art Thou? Harlan Pepper! Kinda. The band is four dudes who just got out of high school but who make country rock with a heavier emphasis on the country. And by country, we’re talking rootsy. Like Gram Parsons and Buck Owens (that’s their own reference, but it’s apt). And if you’re thinking that a group of young lads can’t possibly sound so genuine, you’re wrong.
How the hell did these kids get so old so fast? Maybe it’s ’cause they’re Canadian?
At the same time, though, youth brings a sense of humor (“I owe a lot of people, so I smoke a little reefer,” they sing in sardonic defeat) and a rollicking kid-friendly shout out to all of the Great Lakes. It’s silly and stupid, and undeniably fun.
Is the album flawless? Hardly. There are some throw-away cuts here, and I’m not sure I could listen to “Great Lakes” more than once unless I was teaching Geography to grade-schoolers, but it hits right more often than not. And it shows remarkable potential. This is a band that’s found their style, but they’re perfecting their voice. They’re figuring stuff out, and bringing us along for the ride.
In short, the band sounds wise and extremely talented, but hasn’t given up on being kids yet.
I’m sure that’s why it’s called “Young and Old.”
Get it for just $8 on Bandcamp. It’s worth it. They’re giving away “Great Lakes” for free there, which I think is a mistake. Because they’re capable of much, much better music on this album.