“Free Company is a record that floats with breezy indie charm…; collection of feelgood indie folk songs yet.”
Boy Scouts’ singer songwriter Taylor Vick and pal Stephen Steinbrink took the supremely bold and daring step to set up a recording studio inside a rented shipping container. No windows, little space and not much by way of fresh air. What followed inside those metallic, boxed in 4 walls was the polar opposite. Free Company is a record that floats with breezy indie charm and feels like Taylor Vick’s most cohesive, tight knit collection of feelgood indie folk songs yet.
The album opens with lead single Get Well Soon. A swirl of twangy guitars and the smooth, soothing pitch of Vick’s vocals: “Get Well Soon, I hope you do. I brought no balloons, cause they just die too.” Despite the rawness of some of her lyrics, Vick manages to keep things sounding sweet and uplifting.
“Boy Scouts sound free to drift in a comfortable relaxed manner… a mood that with permeate your aura from your ears to your every cell of your body.”
In Ya Too is straight off of the slacker rock playbook. It’s infectious chorus is a delight, with Vick wailing serenely “And I know, it’s in you too”. Slacker rock is a genre characterised by playing that is almost sloppy, but with Free Company this is not the case. Boy Scouts sound free to drift in a comfortable relaxed manner through life; a mood that with permeate your aura from your ears to your every cell of your body.
“Some albums don’t have highlights, they play as a cohesive piece; Free Company is a perfect example of this.”
Some albums don’t have highlights, they play as a cohesive piece; Free Company is a perfect example of this. Just when Free Company could have begun to get samey track 4, All Right features stripped back reverb, exposing Vick’s gorgeous vocal tones opening the track with just Vick’s vocal and guitar line. The instrumentation is mixed up too in a manner that will prick your ears with pleasing confusion; electric drums and climbing background synths, weird but in a wonderful way. It’s apparent that the unusual recording environment of the shipping container brought out the best in Vick and the record.
Hate Ya 2 unsurprisingly is a sore sounding track, with Vick’s vocals endearing to the ear, but with a painful message. “I don’t know why I love you. And I hate ya 2. I hate ya 2”. It’s the most exposed Vick comes across on the album and sounds like an emotional weight she was desperate to offload, To close the album it feels as though the same muse Vick used for Hate Ya 2 has returned for acoustic number You Were Once. Hate Ya 2 and You Were Once are Vick’s catharsis in an otherwise dream filled indie folk record; could ending the album with You Were Once be Vick’s closure on a difficult period of her life?
“[Free Company is]a spacious record, with a gorgeous, concise mix letting you hear each musical element with satisfyingly crisp precision.”
‘Free Company’ is an album that sounds like an artist at ease with their sound. It’s a spacious record, with a gorgeous, concise mix letting you hear each musical element with satisfyingly crisp precision. Vick’s vocals are a triumph throughout with a genuine sense of exposure in moments, but consistently delivered in differing waves of pitch and tone.
“With the possibility of only a handful more super sunny summer days left this year, make sure this is your soundtrack to soak them up.”
Boy Scouts have been a name on the indie scene of the San Francisco bay for a while now, but this record elevates them to a self-assured, confident sound they had been yet to hit. With the possibility of only a handful more super sunny summer days left this year, make sure this is your soundtrack to soak them up.
Out Now on Anti Records.
Words Curt Downs & James Wadsworth @jamespart31