An Optimist, A Pessimist: You Won’t in San Francisco

 

Playing The Independent this Friday is a two-person outfit called You Won’t that you will like, I promise. Well…as long as you’re into the earnest indie vibe. Hailing from Boston, this combination of bffs Josh Arnoudse on guitar/vocals and Raky Sastri on percussion produces infections acoustic folk rock that instantly caught my attention.

 

Skeptic Goodbye, the duo’s 2012 debut released by Old Flame Records, could not be better titled. Every time I push play on this album I’m transported to another place, a better place–one floating on a nostalgic accordion ebb and flow. I find it impossible not to bounce about in my chair as associative images rattle about my personal unconscious–lakeside tire swings, battered back-of-the-bar pianos, and Edison lights crisscrossed along the horizon of a winter-crisp city street. Each song seamlessly transitions into the next without losing its own unique character. Skeptic Goodbye opens with “Three Car Garage,” a precocious track that immediately catches the listener’s attention. In songs like “Old Idea,” the tempo is perfectly paired with the lyrical mood while the eclectic harmonium prevents a simple song from being simplistic. In fact, these fellas consistently call upon a creative assortment of  instruments like the melodica, the saw, and even wind chimes throughout the album. Finally, they cap the effort off with the satisfying song “Realize”, a contemplative piece filled with reverence and wonder.

 

Perhaps what I like most about the music of You Won’t is how it lends itself to relational memory, how something created by another can so easily feel like my own–so easily be the personal soundtrack that was seemingly always present yet fresh enough to incite a creative rush. In this sense, Skeptic Goodbye is both a blanket and a bombshell banishing boredom (often the root of skepticism) in a comforting cocoon. These kids have fun, they’re funny, and if we follow their lead they may just make optimists of us all.

Word on the street is that their shows have converted skeptics like NPR’s Bob Boilen, so I’m giddy with excitement to experience the album live. Hopefully you are too, and I’ll see y’all on Divisadero this weekend!

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