Upstate - You Only Get A Few [LP] | RECORD STORE DAY
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You Only Get A Few [LP]
Artist: Upstate
Format: Vinyl

Details

Label: The Royal Potato Family
Rel. Date: 03/31/2023
UPC: 020286240198

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For Upstate, the past three years have been a litany of transitions as members Mary Webster, Melanie Glenn, Harry D’Agostino and Dylan McKinstry patiently navigated the unfolding hurdles presented by some of life’s most pivotal moments. Amid a whirlwind of marriages, babies, funerals, spiritual awakenings, mourning and celebration, was a long, uncertain pause. Amid the passage, Upstate embraced the chance to make a record that could touch on every corner of their lives, a deeply honest portrait. Indeed, You Only Get A Few, the band’s third studio album due March 31 on Royal Potato Family, is  a collection of lilting indie folk—ten songs blossoming from uncertainty and creative collaboration. Shedding old expectations, the album is most authentic to who the group is now, as each member leaned into their most authentic expression of themselves.

Beginning with a long exhale, You Only Get a Few leads into the lo-fi scratchy tape opening of “Lovers & Friends” that feels almost archival, as if we’re dusting off something half-forgotten. The song itself is about recognizing the preciousness of friendship. Many of the album’s songs are set with field recordings made by the band, drawing us into the space from which the songs were created. The simple and elegant arrangement of “Catalpa” begins with the backdrop of spring rain that subtly transitions into the familiar sounds of a summer night. Glenn and Webster’s voices glide over a serene acoustic guitar, singing “Cold march, and I dream of June.” It’s a song about memory, the seasons, and moments of life that aren’t quite solid enough to grip. “Auntie” serves as a reminder to listen to the advice of others and ourselves. It’s drenched in harmony and bold, driving rhythms complemented by the hypnotic, colorful swirl of electric guitar, low-bellied bass, hammond organ, synthesizer, and clarinet. And while much of You Only Get A Few is inspired by the band’s real-life experiences, there are also moments of spontaneous fiction, an idea propelled into something tangible. The Harry D’Agostino-penned Patty’s Diner” is one such instance, as he tells the story from the perspective of a grieving sister, intent on realizing her late sibling’s dream.

On their third album, Upstate prods and searches, stews and savors, and they let go of as much as they carry throughout each transition. It’s as if there’s a collective breath, and, just as the album begins with an exhale, You Only Get A Few ends with one, too.

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