Despite all my complicated theories about good music and what makes it that, deep down I know that things are simple - very simple: there is music that makes it easier for me to be who I want to be, and music that doesn't. The music the Young Tradition make certainly falls into the first category.
When I first heard 'California Morning' my heart jumped as if the weight of the world had left it for a while, and I didn't care even though Nick called it 'this sixties pastiche', because I knew it was a song with the power to do magic. For it is a song full of pop clichés - California, sun, morning, summer, pebbles in her hair and Beach Boys' harmonies, Byrds' guitars and a trumpet - but with a real pop feeling and the most beautiful phrase I've heard all year: "There's a cloud in my heart for you."
I've listened to it hundreds of times and it still brings tears to my eyes - probably because it feels like it tells my version of the story of my life in 2 minutes and 44 seconds. You could indeed call it a sixties pastiche, but then you would be missing out on its genuine nineties/noughties innocence: it's a record made from grown-ups who have stayed children for grown-ups who have stayed children - it is deliberately made to feel and sound this way.
The second song - 'All up to me' - is less important as b-sides ought to be, pleasant and well-written, proud owner of a Beatles' bounciness and straightforwardness, a Gorky's Zygotic Munci's whimsicality and it would do very well as a carousel song - a quality I never fail to find endearing in a song. As for the third one, it is a #Poundsign# cover and it sticks out a little as being differently structured (which, if you think about it, is what it should do). It is a considerably quieter, lullaby-like version of the original and even though I am not sure I would say it is better, it is sweeter, softer and it goes a long way to reveal this rather unusual song's beauty.
All in all, it is really quite haunting.
One of my favourite things this year, and I really wish you'd love it too.