The album begins with an admittedly melancholic commentary on the process of growing up that serves as a thoughtful one-minute introduction that seamlessly progresses into the second song, “Oxygen supply”. At this point the typical head-bopping, fun-loving sound that one associates with sunny Shortstraw concerts arrives in full force, driven as usual by catchy guitar riffs and pitchy vocals. The next two songs, titled “OMG” and Until your head hits my pillow”, follow on in the same note and drive home the fact that while Shortstraw are maturing, they have not wandered too far from their original sound.

The album ends with a slow and reflective number titled “Good winter”, which the band has said is their favourite because of its drastic departure from their usual sound. Whenever a band ventures into new territory, such as Shortstraw has done here, a mixed response from existing fans is normal, however it may just provide the diversity necessary for the band to reach beyond the boundaries of the indie genre and expand their fan base.

The themes of youth, growing up and even growing old are prominent throughout the album and the tension created between songs about adulthood, contrasted with songs about drinking until you pass out in bed, really add a depth to the album that will undoubtedly stir up conflicting emotions from their thousands of twenty-something fans who share the band’s existential dilemma.

Youthless may just be a tipping point for the band as they grow from a small time indie group into a household name with multiple studio albums. Their access to a professional pre-production process is evident in this album’s considered song progression, which true music fans will appreciate. As they embark on a year of live performances armed with their new songs, it will be interesting to see how the crowds receive them and whether their new found maturity will detract from, or add to, their unashamedly youthful live performances. With such an impressive new repertoire, they won’t struggle to pull it off.

 

Image: Shortstraw.co.za

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