I should really just go to bed at this point. My rollercoaster of a day has reached a low point that I just don’t know that I can rally from. That being said, I’m still in the mood for some more new (or at least new to me) music. So I thumbed through my stack of albums and landed on Ian George’s ‘Kingdom of My Youth’. The title of the album spoke to me and the simple but bright cover caught my eye. I know this one has been sitting in my stack for some time but I have no clue what to expect from this album. So pour a glass of wine (or water or whatever you enjoy) and let’s go on this journey together.
I took a deep breath as “Gitche Gumee” took over my house and to say it was the most relaxing moment of my day would not be an understatement. I don’t know what Ian is singing in this track and, honestly, I don’t care. His voice is so calming and the atmospheric instrumentation behind it just whisked me away from everything that was weighing me down. I found myself just taking the deepest breaths I had taken all day through this five-minute song. I can not explain to you how good it felt.
As beautiful as “Gitche Gumee” was, I instantly loved “The Wild & the Untamed” a million times more. The calming atmospheric sound was still there but there was something a bit more upbeat and motivational about this track that made it an instant favorite of mine. There were a million bands that came to mind when listening to this track but Iron & Wine was one that I just could not shake. I’m not saying that Ian George is a carbon copy or anything like that but the feeling seems to be the same and, if you’re unfamiliar with Iron & Wine, it is a truly beautiful feeling.
“Kandisky” continues with a more upbeat tempo and adds a little dancey feel to the mix. Ian’s voice comes through a little bit clearer on this track and it gives you a chance to really take in just how brilliant of a songwriter and lyricist he is. Although all of these tracks are brilliant and longer than the typical punk songs that I listen to, it was so hard to not get lost in them and be shook back to reality as the next track took over. That’s what happened during “Kandisky”. I was so busy thinking of words that would do the song justice and, before I came up with said words, “Son” had taken over. “Son” brings back the calming vibe laid out in “Gitche Gumee” and it gives you a chance to really witness the impressive range of Ian’s voice.
Although simplistic to begin with just Ian’s voice and a soft drum beat kicking the track off, “Better with a Buddy” was another instant favorite of mine. The soft volume and feeling of this track is cozy and warm which, on a brisk Minnesota winter night, was just what I wanted. “L’étang-La-Ville” emphasizes that coziness and brings back that very zen feeling I got from “Gitche Gumee”. With no lyrics, you are able to really get a feel for the beautiful soundscapes that Ian George is capable of. His genius is clearly not just in vocals and lyrics, the arrangement of this instrumental track is pure gold.
“The Jolly Road” instantly made a smile creep across my face. This dancey little number starts with Ian counting in French before infectious clapping comes in. This is the perfect track for a montage of driving on an ocean road. You know will know what I mean when you hear it. It just has this very playful but very beautiful feeling to it. I honestly kind of wanted the album to end on this high note but was just as happy as “Shenandoah” started playing to cap off this genius work of art. Although this whole album is beautiful, I feel like this final track is an exclamation point to that beauty. The track is restrained and perfectly curated as far as every note and every word goes.
Ian George’s ‘Kingdom of My Youth’ isn’t something I would listen to every day but it’s something I would listen to whenever I just want to get out of my head for a bit and, honestly, that’s just as, if not more, important. What a gorgeous album.
My Favorite Track(s): “The Wild & The Untamed”; “Better With a Buddy”
For Fans Of: Calming Soundscapes; Smiling; Gorgeous and beautiful things
Daydream-ability: 9 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Both cats slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 4 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.1 out of 10
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