The Glorious Sons first hit my radar with the redoubtable song “Sometimes on a Sunday”. And their debut full length record, The Union, was as good as any album released in 2014. Their sophomore effort Young Beauties & Fools is a follow up that doesn’t disappoint. Two records in I think its safe to include lead singer Brett Emmons among the best singer/lyricist’s in rock today. Young Beauties & Fools is a collection of auto-biographical songs about addiction, bad decisions and embracing youth. For his part, Emmons says, “it’s basically the story of a 24 year old kid”. The lyrics throughout the album are relatable without being specific to the listener. The band is rounded out by brother Jay Emmons (guitar), Chris Koster (guitar), Adam Paquette (drums) and Chris Holt (bass).
The album opens with “My Poor Heart”. A song about the toll living a life of excess can have. Lyrics like “I lost my wallet and keys. Somewhere around with my dignity” brought me back to my own days as a young man drinking to excess with my friends while engaging in irresponsible behavior. My God, is this song good. One song in and I already have a new favorite song. The next track “Josie” offers no challenge to that title. A fairly boring track on an otherwise bright record.
Current single “Everything Is Alright” deals with accepting things as they are, including the occasional bad decision. Like punching a man on his wedding night. Growing up, it is difficult to know your place, especially when you are different from the others. A fact he seems to embrace with the lyric “I’m the closest thing my mother had to a daughter. I used to be ashamed of that but now I’m kinda flattered“. Brett had to have a strong sense of self uncharacteristically early to be as good as he is at his age. Another strong track.
Things take a different turn with the keyboard heavy “Come Down”. For anyone who would question my take on the lyrical genius of this band need to hear this song. It’s hard to write a song that makes getting fucked up sound romantic. This song brings me back to my experience with The Union. Each spin found me finding a new favorite track. This song has been a grower.
“Hide My Love” tells the story of a sort of Romeo and Juliet type tale. Except it’s Brett and Megan or Sara and they live in Kingston, Ontario and some guy named Jimmy who needs to fuck off. A slower orchestrated track. Not my favorite track at the moment, but check back tomorrow.
The next song is so good it gave me an erection that lasted longer than four hours. If there is anything wrong with “Godless, Graceless & Young” it is that it is the story of my past. When things were less comfortable but also less anticipated. Losing a job wasn’t a major concern. It only meant I may have to move home for a few months while I got my shit together. This is one of those songs that gets you rolling down the windows in January. It’s a monster and won’t be leaving my playlist anytime soon. I’ve played it three times in a row, typing this paragraph. True story.
This stretch of songs is the strongest part of the record. “My Blood” is another crotch filler. Basically a story of a horribly destructive family. Ditching the IRS, rushing to the emergency for an adverse reaction to fentanyl. You know. Family shit. And by the end of “Sawed Off Shotgun”, I’m seriously considering doing oxy, fentanyl or some other type of drug. Not that there is any effort to glamorize it, it’s just that the songs are so good it seems appropriate in some touchingly fucked up way to get fucked up listening to this record. But I won’t. Drugs are bad kids.
Young Beauties & Fools ends on a more optimisitc note with “So Much Love To Give” and “Thank You For Saying Goodbye”. Not that they are all that optimistic, but they offer more hope than some of the preceding tracks. Almost like saying today may not be great, but tomorrow can be. This record has to a be candidate for album of the year. It won’t be leaving my playlist anytime soon.
The Glorious Sons are on a North American tour with Greta Van Fleet. Go see them. And dammit. Buy this record. Out October 13th.
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