In 1985, you may have had a progressive, older sister. Because of her innate coolness, she had no time for you and your teenage nonsense. But sometimes, when she felt you deserved it, she would award you with poorly made tapes of exceptional music. It was sickening really, because you were still living at home in high school — loving the one Psychedelic Furs tape she provided just a little too frequently, all the while cursing her selfishness by not bringing you more (Later you would learn that, at the time, said sister was indeed selfish, but also quite broke — duh! she used up her allowance finding more music). It annoyed you that she was away at school, always scoring music so "street" it actually made you fantasize about SAT scores and college applications in 9th grade study hall. Lucky dog, you thought. Oh, the power she could wield.
If this relationship dynamic still held true today, most assuredly the Jeunes: Four Songs would be one of the gems she would pass along. This is music that reminds you of a time you would have done pretty much anything to be clued in to something great. The Jeunes' music is dreamy in an early- to mid-80s British/New Wave sort of way, yet quite comfortably anchored in the 21st century. The aptly named EP is the stellar debut of this Seattle trio, comprised of James Hall, Jaime Clapper, and Curtis Hall. With James on guitar, Jaime playing bass and Curtis handling both drums and keys, all three contribute vocals for a rich, often harmonious sound. Their bio cites likenesses to Joy Division, the Creation, Opal and the Kinks, among others. It's mildly dark, guitar-driven, melodic, and again, very dreamy rock — especially the last track, "Someone Else's Friend." There are obvious nods toward melancholy without making you want to fling yourself off the Ship Canal Bridge in the middle of a Seattle winter. The music is hook-laden, lush and timeless. After a few listens, you will be utterly smitten with this band. Perhaps the only complaint is the CD's brevity (11 minutes, 48 seconds).
The Jeunes' Four Songs EP will make you long for the drives to see the elder sister at college. It will make you want to stare vacantly out the back seat window with your 14-year-old eyes, the Walkman cranked up to 10, planning your college career around all the great discoveries you will make at the record shops. Special note to the Jeunes: I want more!