Hailing from the same isolated central Ohio college town as yours truly, The Young Crooks are three of the chillest dudes I've had the pleasure of meeting, and they make some badass pop music to boot. Their sound on the recently-released Phone EP could be described as a cocktail of Sublime's rap/reggae fusion, the Strokes' melodic sensibilities, and Darwin Deez's overall (lo-fi) aesthetic, but they're hardly just the sum of their influences. They have quite an original voice in their own right, thanks in no small part to Win Dunham's songwriting, which covers such themes as youth, ennui, loneliness, and lots and lots of hedonism (by way of alcohol, weed, ritalin, and acid, though the list certainly doesn't end there) with an impressively nimble sense of wit and lyricism.
But for all their immature content, Dunham tells these stories with a sort of resigned nostalgia and self-consciousness that manages to steer clear of one-dimensional irony. His writing stays mature and honest throughout, but not without a keen sense of humor: the EP opens with the words, "I used to give a fuck, but/lately I've been givin up/and I gotta say I feel fine/molly and red wine," and you're not quite sure whether he's being entirely sincere when he slyly croons, "we're just dumb kids anyway" in (my personal favorite) "Today."
You can grab the whole EP for free at their Bandcamp, and I would highly suggest you do so. It's fun, catchy, and smart, and you know you love the feeling of downloading free music without that feeling of corrosive guilt eating away at your sense of self-respect.
~ GO GET IT! ~