Newcomers, First Year On Earth, have released their anticipated debut album, Worn Road. Recorded in Austin’s own Church House Studio, the indie-folk-concoction released on August 5th features 11 tracks that’re absolutely drenched in the personalities of the four-piece.
While I found it difficult to pick the best of the 11 to discuss, the opening title track sets the standard high. ‘Worn Road’ features Ryan Murphy’s lone voice, reverberated in a slight echo that instils this image of being in the centre of an empty room; like he’s singing for himself. It feels vulnerable, like you’re intruding on this very private expression of himself – and of the band, as his soft tones are accompanied by a heartfelt instrumental that makes you feel extremely special just to be listening to it.
The band, who carry a reputation for eclectic live shows, released their initial EP – First Year On Earth – in 2014 shortly after their formation. Since then, they’ve sewn together each member’s skills and fashioned their own organic sound that’ll see them far in the music city of Austin. The quartet features Ryan Murphy’s vocals, Matthew Read on guitar, Kris Afftlerbaugh on bass and Jimmy Milner on drums.
Worn Road features an almost chronological track list; developing from song to song shown by the way that the feeling of intrusion, felt listening to the first track, differs so dramatically from ‘Fire’. It feels as though you’ve been noticed, like he knows he’s no longer in the room alone and instead steps into unchartered territory with falsetto tones taking the centre stage. Definitely, what I’d consider one of the ‘rockier’ songs on the album, it feels dirtier and less vulnerable. With Matthew Read’s guitar playing paired interestingly with this, as it consists of a seemingly literal plucking of the strings; really connoting that homely, Texas country feel and giving the song a whole new appeal from the grungier side brought to the piece by Murphy.
Finishing off the 11-track album is ‘Goodbye’ – which just adds fuel to the metaphorical fire of my chronological theory. Impressively, it, again, provides a whole different perspective on the band; they really have jammed their whole portfolio into this album, making sure there’s something for everyone. This track has more of a pop punk swirled with country vibe, vaguely reminiscent of Christofer Drew, but with the authentically excitable feel that even the sadder songs on the album – like ‘Untitled’ – possess. They’ve definitely proven themselves as a multi-talented band, with promise of not losing their place in Austin; it’s all up from here.
Written by: Megan Matthews (email@example.com)