You know those BBC montages, the ones they put on at the end of the day’s coverage of Glastonbury or some other mud-drenched festival where students compound their debt with over-priced noodles and crappy beer? It will usually feature people bouncing up and down in slow motion as they sing along to their favourite bands. There will be smiles all round, kids in facepaint, people asleep, tents, wellies, roadies carrying flight-cases, celebs gurning for the camera. Eventually the night draws on, the headline bands come out, everything turns moody and spiritual as the light shows kick and fields of cigarette lighters wave in the breeze. Guy Garvey leads a sing-along and everything is just beautiful.
This is the go to album for montage editors. Every track deserves one. Every track is chock-full of happy vibes and smiley smiles and topped with Californian sunshine, which can be easily substituted with the lesser-seen English variety for festival montage purposes.
Family Of The Year would certainly be in the BBC’s radar and they may be on yours already. The band has already been play-listed on Radio 6 and XFM, been endorsed by Ben Folds (who’s album with William Shatner, “Has Been”, was one of the unexpected highlights of the naughties) and played with Mumford and Sons. They’ve been prolific too. Three EPs since 2009 and this is their second full-length effort. FOTY certainly have a signature sound. The four-way harmonies from brothers Joe and Sebastian Keefe, Christina Shroeter and James Buckey, keep the east-coast mood going. Guitars jangle. Hands clap. Guitars jangle some more. You can picture them on the stairs of their charmingly ramshackle house (it’s true actually, they share a charmingly ramshackle house in LA) singing songs to each other as the beams of magnolia sun stream through the windows. You might try to resist with your trusty cloak of mancunian cynicism but succumb you will with a big joker-like grin on your face.
It’s not to say that this band can’t mix it up. “Living on Love” is happy to rock it, slightly, and “Hey Ma” that follows is a piano-led letter to a mother long-missed which surprisingly manages to avoid sounding like Coldplay. There’s even some good-natured swearing with the opening track “The Stairs”. These are the exceptions though. For the most part each track mines the same folky Californian seam, and they’re so goddam good at it you’ll be signing up for their e-newsletter and singing along in no time at all.