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Family of the Year Loma Vista Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

A word-of-mouth debut LP that’ll make perfect sense when the situation suits.

Ian Wade 2012

Family of the Year aren’t anything to do with an arbitrary award shoved at a celebrity to congratulate them for raising a child or two, but are in fact a Los Angeles-based quartet comprising Welsh-born brothers Joe and Sebastian Keefe (guitar and drums respectively), James Buckey (guitar) and Christina Schroeter (keyboards). They lived in a one-bedroom apartment during this second album’s recording, which takes its title from the street they made it on.

Having toured with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that they deal in indie-pop songs with folk tinges, commenting on the love of life and family over west coast vibes and campfire harmonies. Think of a slightly more cosmic Magic Numbers or a looser Mumfords and you’re halfway there.

St Croix is possibly the best summation of the Family’s ethos, with bongos a-bonging in a courgette soup commune kind of way. Cheery and optimistic, yet yearning, if they claimed that they’d recorded the track in one take you wouldn’t be too surprised.

The single Diversity – which has a sort-of-NSFW video where the band’s clothes are literally pulled off them – is a gleeful empowerment stomp. Buried is the sort of hands-clapping composition that could accompany an advertising campaign for user-friendly technology, or a range of organic fruit, with its refrain of “bury me with my guitar”.

Elsewhere, Hero is a sunlit mellow strum held aloft by a large sing-along section about equal opportunity fighting. On closer Find It, one can imagine them surrounded by a choir of fellow travellers with great hair bellowing the big chorus from atop a cliff.

Loma Vista is a fine album of songs of love, longing and celebration that would sound at its best when cruising along a B road in a soft-top, or stumbled across while wandering around a free festival while a bit tipsy. It’s the sort of album that may well become a slow-burn word-of-mouth affair as FOTY’s reputation spreads.

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