By Nicole Seitz
The Emily Youth Project is junior music industry students Mike Grant and Jon Bass, junior business student Justin Murray, and recent music industry graduate, Andrew Jackle.
The band began their music career when Grant, Bass, and Murray auditioned as Ice House Gallery for Blue Hawk Records' (BHR) 4th compilation album with their track "Out of Hand" with junior music industry students, Owen Flanagan and Mike Hause. "Out of Hand" is a rock song with some Jack's Mannequin vibes.
Since the compilation album in the fall of 2014, the band has experienced some big change in sound and lineup. EYP now: Grant on piano, Bass on bass, Murray on guitar, and Jackle on the drums, has been rocking the Jersey music scene for over 2 years now and have produced 2 EP's (extended play).
Their first EP, self-titled The Emily Youth Project, was released in the summer of 2015. This whole EP is very fun and dancey with some silly lyrics and sampling from movies and shows. This EP also has some Jack's Mannequin tones and some piano sections that remind me a little bit of Owl City. EYP's biggest hit off here was "Saturday Night Done Right", a song that everyone knows, if you've ever seen these guys play live.
Just last semester, EYP released their second EP Number 2. This EP is very different from their first, it still has the fun groove that the boys are best at, but with this album they definitely go in a more psychodelci direction.
The first track is "Tunnel Jam" which is accurately named because you really feel like you're going through a tunnel. The whole song is and instrumental jam. The very beginning of the song has this very rough guitar sound and the piano comes in, then the song goes to this lighter jam that almost sounds like you're in a waiting room and back in to the hard jam.
"Tunnel Jam" very smoothly runs into the next track "Tunnel Vision" which is a continuation of the jam from before, but now Grant comes in with some vocals. The two tracks together really just take on this never ending trip through a tunnel. The jam goes all over place yet sounds so cohesive at the same time. You can't help but just bob your head along to the jam and get lost in it.
Track 3, "Stuck", begins with a short crazy jam that makes you feel like Alice when she falls down the whole into a new crazy world. In this song you really need to listen to the lyrics because they follow you through the story that the music is trying to tell you.
The next track is "I Can't Feel My Heart" which has a very similar vibe to a Modern Baseball song, very indie and cool. The trombone in this song, played by James Alfaro a hometown friend of the EYP guys, is perfectly used. In the beginning, the trombone plays the hooky melody of the line "I Can't Feel My Heart". It's especially unique because you often don't get to hear the trombone at their live performances and it definitely adds another element that I particularly enjoy on this track. As the track goes on the sound gets louder and builds up right to the end.
The last track on the EP is "Brand New Friend". This song is a very chill song compared to the jams we've heard on some of the other tracks. This song is very honest and relaxing. The most interesting part of the song is the bridge where the vibe of the song changes for a bit from this very happy song to a very
serious sound with Grant's vocals and Murray's backing vocals singing "I've gotta start over again" a few times. Then it goes back into the happy vibe but with an even bigger sound.
Overall, this EP is very interesting and complex to those of us who understand music theory, but can also be very groovy and awesome for those of us who just want to listen to some cool tunes. Number 2 definitely shows the influence from The Beatles in the chaotic jams, it's very reminiscent off something on the White Album or Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
If I were to pin EYP as one genre I would have to say indie rock, because their style is very much rock with a psychedelic vibe that is driven by the piano. Also, the use of the trombone on this album is like The Beatles during the later half of their career. The album flows very nicely together and still manages to make you feel a lot of different emotions.
The Emily Youth Project has also recorded a new single "Motorcycle Song" with Blue Hawk Records. Follow both on social media to stay tuned about any upcoming release shows and music.