July 27, 2009

Sweating Honey
When We Were Young

Fairbanks, AK
Produced by Luke Beckel and Corwyn Wilkey | Mixed by Sweating Honey | Mastered by Mandy
Parnell at Electric Mastering in London, UK | Recorded at Dome Studios in Fairbanks, AK

When We Were Young makes a great introduction to this party-friendly funk band from Alaska’s Interior. Primary songwriter and front man, Luke Beckel, turns his love of all genres into a thrilling LP.

Though the energy is high, tempos are never rushed or frantic. You can tell these musicians are field-tested and confident. What really gets the listener moving is the percussionist, Nick Shier, and the horn section, bringing a Latin feel to many of the tracks. There are many life-affirming lyrics along the lines of “living without love is like breathing without air.” Two highlights are, “Whatcha’ Gonna Do,” a psychedelic salsa with a reggae breakdown, and “Summer Thang,” where trumpet player Corwyn Wilky puts down his horn and does some soulful lead singing.

“Man on the Moon” is a pleasant piano ballad that may remind some of Ryan Adams, and the exciting “Ezmerelda” tells a story of seduction and murder with a peppy Latin beat reminiscent of Calexico. “Drew Grass” is a peppy bluegrass number with mandolin and tight, restrained drumming.

The album concludes with a traditional tune, “Nobody’s Fault but Mine,” where Beckel shares the vocals with guitar player Drew Frick, bass player Jeremiah Bakken and Wilkey. Each vocalist takes a turn at a verse and the four of them sing in sweet harmony for the choruses. This passionately delivered final track acts as a nightcap after a swinging party; it’s just when the sun is rising and you get sentimental for your family and friends who are far away that Frick howls, “My children, they taught me how to live.”
-Isaac Paris


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