Young Legs is the moniker for Steven Donahue. After a release in 2010 he has been recording songs for compilation records and working with a rotating cast of people. Donahue has reemerged with a wonderful album entitled Promise of Winter, which is a diverse album that feels original, diverse and accessible. At times I was reminded of the same kind of medieval whimsical nature of a band like Fleet Foxes and other times I felt hints of Jens Lekman and even Paul Simon. Either way Donahue's voice is simply fantastic and extremely easy on the ears. Most of the songs revolve around little more than a string instrument like a guitar or a banjo with light percussion.
Promise of Winter starts with “Resolution” which is an upbeat song that bursts with exuberance and excitement. The loose, fun feel is reminiscent of a band like The Unicorns. It also is one of the most robust tracks on the album and has a myriad of percussive elements. He sings, “never believed in second chances i was too concerned with what romance is i bit my tongue and tied up every thought i bound them and i muted them and i left them to rot.”
“Ring of Salt” is a bit of an anomaly in that it leads the charge with synths. That being said it really doesn’t feel out of place and Donahue kills it when it comes to the vocals. Absolutely catchy and palatable. “Apple Stem” is a bit silly and also feels like a throwback to The Beatles. After the third song the album makes a turn in terms of mood and emotions.
Donahue slows things down with “Goodbye, John Ryle” and coats the song in melancholy. He sounds just as good here as he does on a song like “Resolution.” The lyrics are heart breaking but also ambiguous. He sings, “goodbye, john ryle how about one more headache for old time's sake.”
“The Road There” is another success as he adds light percussion to his acoustic guitar while “Round the Root” is a stripped back acoustic song that contains gorgeous vocal harmonies. As the album progresses Donahue never returns the energy of the first three songs, which was fine by me. He solidifies his talent and originality with songs like “Wrapping Paper” and “Eve.” He closes the album with “Northfield,” which relies on a cappella performances that are exceptional.
Promise of Winter is an exceptional album from beginning to end. Some things are worth the wait and this is one of them. Highly Recommended.
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