(Young) Pioneers - Free the (Young) Pioneers Now!
Lookout Records

Unabashedly tepid!@!  With Free the (Young) Pioneers Now!  the
Young Pioneers have produced a comfortable, and at times even
enjoyable CD that utterly fails to inspire or excite, which is a pity
given what the band is capable of.

Instrumentally, the album is fine, but they never really cut
loose.  The playing is pretty smooth, but they seem to be holding
something back the entire album. Lyrically, it is a really very good
album.  They can write, there is no question about that.  But the
vocals are over-produced and overly smooth. The vocal productions
are better suited to a pop-punk band.  The album is on Lookout, so
maybe the productions were accidentally mixed up with the Mr T
Experience.  Perhaps *their* next album (Some More Short Songs About
Some More Girls or whatever) will be gritty and ambient.

It is that gritty ambient quality that the Young Pioneers seem to
have lost in this album.  On the positive side, their cover of Curtis
Mayfield and the Impressions' "Meeting Over Yonder" is very enjoyable,
and Last Day Message almost hearkens back to the Pioneers' best work.

Unfortunately, songs like "IDST" and "Alarms and Sirens" suffer
immensely from the flat, cold vocal production--these songs had
promise, but the way they were styled made them fall short.

Other songs, like We Don't Believe in Criminals, don't even seem
to demonstrate any understanding of where the mark might be.

The cover of Impatient Youth's "Praise the Lord and Pass the
Ammunition" is fun, but not great.

I hope the album does not represent the direction the Young
Pioneers are headed in--they were a very interesting and viable band
and could be again, it is clear from the album.  But if they are
heading toward over-produced vocals and hesitant, almost pensive
instrumentals, then all their lyrical abilities and all their style
won't save them.
...ron provine...

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