Andrew Younker – Well Wishes

Michigan based Andrew Younker is only 21 now, but Well Wishes was released with French label Hidden Bay Records on cassette tape (who also released his two EPs – “Microchasm” and “Brainchild” before that) in April this year when he was still 20. Emma’s House Records in Mexico has quite recently added Andrew to their roster, and are reissuing Well Wishes on CD for the first time on September 4th. Emma’s House main man Jesus Sandoval says: “we are very happy to have an act as talented, simple and full of good vibes as Andrew Younker“.

Andrew briefly told us a bit about himself : “I started my first recordings on my computer in senior year of high school, so I have been doing it for almost 3 years at this point. I’ve always done recording mixing and mastering myself and have recorded mostly in my basement in Rochester or my dorm room in Lansing. I record with Ableton software and have used it from the beginning. I learned bass guitar freshman year of high school and 6 string guitar around sophomore or junior year”

At the start of August Andrew dropped a new song called “Dream Waltz No.1 in D Major” featuring artist/singer Sarah Beltran: a silky smooth lullaby that melds the two heavenly voices of Younker and Beltran and floats off into slumberland.

Well Wishes already had some attention and a good reception but remains still relatively low-profile in the lo-fi popscene. So let me recap the highlights of this treasure and give you an idea as to why you should listen to it:

“Turning Twenty” basically sets the mood for the whole album and sounds exactly like what the song is about: airy as down, bouncy bells of joy and full of expectation for things to happen in life. It blends smoothly with all the other contemporary dream/ janglepop sounds like Foliage, Beach Fossils and DayWave, but there is something somehow more solid and structural about Andrew’s compositions, vocals and phrasing. It makes them sounds a bit more like proper songs as opposed to dreampop sound-scapes, so I think the tendency here is going slightly more towards janglepop. This becomes clearer in “Oracle Girl” in which all-over the-place drumbeats are iced with glittery synths and elegant multi-layered guitar melodies. In the magnetising chorus, Younker’s ephemeral, reverb soaked vocals are alternated with a deeper foreboding voice, which gives the whole thing a bit a 80’s new wave vibe a la Human League. “Wasting my Life” is an sparkly electro pop ditty that sounds like a blend between Brothertiger and Crystal Waters’Gypsy Woman”. Single “Lucky Saw the Lights” is a smooth midtempo pop-piece reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club‘s “Lights Out, Words Gone“, in which composed vocals are juxtaposed against avalanches of bubbly jangles and neon glow synths. Closer of the album, “Dogfight Hypnosis“, is probably my favourite: a sultry, more pensive tune that oozes Prefab Sprout and takes a stunning turn at 2:35 when the moody bass slowly sweeps us along into a late night deserted subway ride straight into heaven…. and oh the lights below us in tinsel town are so pretty!

Well Wishes is about growing up, and if young Andrew can do this kinda thing at 21, I expect much more sublime stuff in the future. I do hope his own “voice” will become a bit more pronounced within the myriads of dreampoppers in jangleland.

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