Youth Companion, Mean Creek’s third full-length album, not only features nostalgic songs about falling in love, growing up and letting go, but it also represents a coming of age for the band itself. Recorded six years after the band’s formation, this is an album the Boston band feels truly proud of. According to lead vocalist Chris Keene, the record, “feels like the album we always wanted to make from when we were kids all the way up to where we are now in our lives.”
It truly is their best work to date. Recorded by Chris McLaughlin at Boston’s 1867 Recording Studio, which used to be a Masonic temple, the group has crafted a solid album full of simple, melodic rock songs that are driven by sentimental and completely relatable lyrics.
The album’s first single, “Young And Wild,” does a good job of encapsulating the general feeling of the LP as a whole. It’s sugar-sweet, beat-driven and tells the story of a cherished past lover who was “so young and wild.” This seems to be an important phrase to Mean Creek, since the band uses the same lyric in the very next song on the album, “Indian Summer.” The album picks up the pace on “Come On, Before It’s Gone,” a fast-paced rock song with heavy distortion and a desperate chorus pleading, “Come on, come on.” The LP comes full circle, maturing and ending with the bittersweet song “The Comedian,” a somber track that channels Nick Cave and displays a darker, heavier side of Mean Creek that contrasts well with the innocent themes covered in previous tracks.
Youth Companion is indeed the perfect soundtrack to your nostalgic youth, covering almost every facet of growing up and discovering who you are. It starts with naiveté, longing and learning, but ends with the same heartache and bitterness many of us experience at some point toward the end of our innocence.