Eminently unGooglable band The You consists of a precocious, talented songwriter fellow named Josh Verbanets and a merry band of backing players, who do their best to stay out of Verbanets’ way. For the Masses is Verbanets’ first album, and, admittedly, it sounds like a first album, rough around the edges and still looking for a consistent musical vision. That said, it’s charming in its unabashed love of variety, alternately finding Verbanets rocking out with his band (“Bait & Switch”) and getting introspective all by himself with his acoustic in hand (“Bad Person”), alternately channeling Sebadoh (“Nothing Goin’ On”) and Pete Townshend (“End of an Era”, which shares some startling similarities with Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door”). For the most part, however, Verbanets tends to sound most comfortable when he’s writing and singing in the realm of alt-country, as he does on the last two tracks, “Broken-Down Storefront” (which leans on the “country” side) and the time-signature-toying closer “Thrown from a Moving Vehicle” (which leans on the “alt” side). Get this guy a producer! He’s got the songwriting goods, he’s got the tunes, it just sounds as though he needs someone to help him focus all of the good ideas swirling around in his head. The You has “second-album wonder” written all over it.
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