Fortunate Youth – Don’t Think Twice
1.) For You
2.) My Love
4.) Don’t Think Twice
6.) Find Your Peace
7.) Midnight Lover
9.) Pass The Herb
10.) All Night
11.) Long One
12.) Wasting Away
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Official Website: Fortunate Youth Website
Hailing from the South Bay region of Los Angeles, Fortunate Youth is a 6-piece band led by vocalist Dan Kelly. Since their start in 2009, the band has ascended quickly in the reggae world, having released two EP’s, 2010’s Up-Lifted and 2014’s Dub Collections vol. 1, as well as two full-length albums, Irie State of Mind and It’s All A Jam. The band is well known for combining roots-reggae influences with a collection of other sounds, creating a style they call uniquely their own.
Dare I call this Fortunate Youth at their best?
The band follows the success of their previous full-length albums with new release Don’t Think Twice, an album that shows not only a lyrical maturity, but also an overall musical growth from the band’s previous work. This isn’t an album you listen to at a party, rather something to be enjoyed on a calm, carefree day.
It starts off with “For You,” a mellow, vintage-sounding instrumental tune that seamlessly blends funky guitar notes, keys, and a light percussion beat. Intertwined between the instrumentals is a lone vocal harmony sung by Essel ‘Susie’ Liufau that sounds eerily reminiscent of the vocal harmony & melody heard in Malo’s 70s classic “Suavecito,” with “For You” carrying a slower tempo than that of Malo’s.
“My Love” is sonically cut from the same cloth as Fortunate Youth’s previous work, but it stood out for me, particularly because of the use of the organ and its catchy chorus line; an excellent example of perfection in simplicity. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for “FY,” a song that I can imagine being used to open a live show, but on this album, I found it to be little more than a filler.
There are a couple more forgettable songs like “Vibes” and “Long One” that seemed to be lacking something to set them apart from the plethora of generic reggae songs. However, the production quality on every track is top notch, and I enjoyed hearing a greater presence of new instruments and keyboard rhythms that were scarcely used in the band’s older songs. This is most notable in my favorite track of the album, the upbeat “All Night,” which features The Expanders. This song best utilizes a New Orleans style medley of horns including the trumpet and trombone, which gives this song a sense of life that sets it apart from any Fortunate Youth track I’ve heard.
We hear another of the album’s strengths in the titular track “Don’t Think Twice,” a lighthearted tune that I understood to be about shedding your troubles by living in the moment. There is a theme of love and optimism on this album, and I felt that having this theme gave the album more direction in comparison to their older releases, which just seemed to be an enjoyable collection of mellow songs. Another example of this is in the song “Find Your Peace,” which emphasizes the age-old message, “good things come to those who wait.” This is a positive sign of growth in the band, and I was glad to see that a band that has already found success is continuing to grow and improve their sound.
It would be hard to call this a Fortunate Youth album without a 420 inspired tune, which comes in the form of “Pass The Herb,” a slow-paced, organ and bass driven song that features strong guest verses from Marlon Asher and Caleb Keolanui of The Green. The repetitive keyboard rhythm gets a little monotonous, but this monotony is broken up by a perfectly placed series of guitar riffs at the 2:47 mark. While this song may not be at the top of your 420 playlists, it’s a good listen for when the time is right.
The album closes on a strong note with “Wasting Away,” another simply mellow song that utilizes some excellent blues guitar notes that I didn’t expect to hear on this album.
Fortunate Youth does a great job of setting a mood without becoming monotonous. This album is peppered with appropriately placed upbeat tunes in between the more mellow, easy-going songs that the band has become famous for. Although it isn’t perfect, Don’t Think Twice is a solid album that demonstrates signs of growth from the band, which makes me very excited for their future releases. However as of now, I consider this album an early favorite of 2015.
Written & Reviewed By: Andrew Aroche
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]