Family Of The Year embody California. They possess a sweet harmonious core that is lavished in twee decoration, yet their songs often ask difficult questions about bittersweet human nature; not that up on stage they would want you to know it. Full smiles, triumphant vocals and heels clicking on the solid wood stage, Family Of The Year welcome you to Los Angels’ latest resort, Hoxton Square Bar.
In a crowd which varied from folks who had “heard them on Soccer Am last week” to full-fledged loyal American fans, it must have been hard to place a journalist. Nobody had Family Of The Year outfits, haircuts or shoes, the only thing that allied everybody was musical admiration – how quaint? And these estimations proved true when a mutual rush of blood and bodies ensued when the quintet took to the stage.
‘Loma Vista’ was boasted incessantly throughout the set. Performances of ‘The Stairs’, ‘St. Croix’, ‘Living On Love’, ‘Never Enough’ were engaging and impressive; providing infectious melody paired with spikes of energy to the system, whilst still managing to maintain the real clean aesthetic the guys’ possess. Their delicate on stage interactions with one another really allowed you to embrace their rapport and transpose that onto not only your relationship with the band, but with the fellows nodding their heads and dancing beside you; a good live band always encourages you to let go of your inhibitions without ever asking. I don’t think I’ll ever see so many people jive about love potion again, not in this lifetime.
The emergence of ‘Summer Girl’ was spectacular. Drummer Sebastian came forth from the back of the stage and shared the centre-stage microphone with lead singer, and brother, Joe like The Beatles playing ‘Help’ with Ed Sullivan in 1965. After allowing everybody to hear their strength in this almost-a-cappella guise, they gradually added tambourine to bass guitar, to more percussion, to more dancing and soon enough they were basking in another ho-down which was lauded by a jubilant crowd.
This was a special show which the guys’ assured me was “a lot of fun”, coaxing them to play some songs they “hadn’t played in a long time” and as a result it created a unique, giddy atmosphere. It wouldn’t surprise me in the future if a more hardened, cynical Family Of The Year emerge but, I guess as much as I don’t like to think it, I’m British and have a proclivity for cynicism. So long as this band keeps on asking honest questions in an intelligent way with a smile, they won’t have changed one bit.