The Young Tradition

The Young Tradition

The Young Tradition

Northern Drive


Like an auditory (almost) Sony-Ericsson, The Young Tradition is a long distance collaboration between Swedish musician Erik Hanspers and Japanese-American singer Brent Kenji. Inhabiting that lovely, lush pop territory cultivated by Burt Bacharach and kept up through the ’90s by Belle & Sebastian, where trumpet melodies and cello drones can peacefully coexist among summery acoustic guitars and pastoral rhythm sections, the duo has crafted a timeless album that feels unfortunately out of place being reviewed in Michigan in December. Hanspers has his sights set distinctly on the ’60s but as the keyboard work-outs at the end of “Pink Opaque” and those that dictate the course of “Footprints” show, he’s equally interested in the jazz from that era as he is the pop. Kenji, for his part, has that borderline disaffected/mournful androgynous whisper perfect for clouding the sentiments of the melancholy lyrics. Highlights include the sunshine brilliance of the title track, the winter-warm electronic hum on “Endlessly” and the aptly-titled, evocative “California Morning.” In a meeting of the climates, California’s fingerprints might have left a deeper impression, but it’s the cool Swedish undercurrent that makes this homage memorable.

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