DATE BREAKDOWN: Berry Farm – “Goodbye Youth!”

File Under: Folk-Rock, Lo-Fi, DIY

The first day of my blind date with Berry Farm’s Goodbye Youth! quickly turned into a headache of overwhelming proportions. The band, mainly singer Jack Potz (jackpots?), had a lot to say. And occasionally a lot to scream.

The date was primarily living-room-studio-muttering centric, leaving the feeling of ‘you’re just gonna get right into your whole life now, huh?’ rolling around in the back of my mind. I mean, on the surface, Goodbye Youth! is a poor man’s Bright Eyes, with confusingly jumbled poetry and the occasional brag of seeing “a UFO once,” or getting “free food from Chipotle.”

But despite my initial gut inclination to just scrap this whole thing and write Potz off as the blind date from hell, I played the album again. And again. And again. And a funny thing happened: I started to actually enjoy it.

Songs would get stuck in my head and I almost couldn’t wait for another trip to the Berry Farm. I did some light research (didn’t even leave the bandcamp page) and quickly realized the first song was a chilling tribute to the passing of a dear friend. The same friend who starts off the album with a voicemail about peanut butter, something I had found ridiculously pointless before. “Ary’s Song” soon became a standout, and if you’ve ever lost someone at too young of an age I’d strongly suggest giving it a listen.

The more I listened to the album’s composition, the more complex it became. Besides Potz occasionally getting off-key with some unnecessary background “oohs” and “ahhs,” little else felt extraneous. As crazy and obnoxious as I originally viewed the scream-athon that is “Frat Boys,”  I at this point would at the very least call it a guilty pleasure. The reverb, loop pedal and other effects work rather well, although I would love to cut out the “how wrong we were were were were were were…” at the end of “Across Your Mind.”

Which brings me to the spoken poetry sections voiced from what I can tell by Magghie O’Shea and Onaya Osbourne. The contrast between Potz’s garbled tone and the word reciting of Shea and Osbourne works about half as well as I believe it could. The album feels like it could have benefited from more time with these two in the studio (living room? Maybe it’s just a living room. More time in the living room) because the reads feel less than prepared. Words like “Oroboros” are spoken with such uncertainty that it really feels like a one-take operation. And it’s a shame, because the potential is there.

Here, at the end of the week, my ears look back on their first blind date with fondness. It’s tough to type up my initial reactions, which at this point feel less than courteous, but that’s what this experience is all about: learning to see something through a different lens.

Highlights on the album are “Hippie Girl” and “Berry Farm Bees.” 

Going on a blind date with Goodbye Youth! :

3/5 stars




 

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