Bobby Bare Jr.’s alternative country outfit, Young Criminal Starvations’ League, is an interesting group that introduces a contemporary twist to the thriving tradition of Americana folk music. This year, the band returns with their first studio release since 2010, Undefeated, an insightful album that provides listeners with the immediate gratification of finding bliss through self-reflection.
As opposed to simply classifying Undefeated as a break-up record, Bare Jr.’s envision it as an uplifting motivational guide to help get you through those hard times. While lyrically deconstructing ways of coping with life after love-loss in the similar fashion to artists like David Bazan and Tim Kasher, Young Criminals’ Starvation League implement these common attributes into this full-length, but in a comfortable and less emotionally abrasive light.
For instance, relatable and crushing songs like “If She Cared” and “Don’t Wanna Know” introduce introspective themes of dwelling on past relationships, while focusing on thoughts of what could have been. In contrast, “The Big Time” and the title-track, “Undefeated,” guide listeners toward finding solace through the satisfying acceptance of moving forward after a devastating break-up. Musically speaking, singles like “North Alabama By Mornin’,” “As Forever Became Never Again” and “Don’t Stand At The Stove” push these heartbreaking connotations of loss aside with innovative and relaxing melodic hooks. These distinct qualities of Undefeated will help listeners embrace the little things in life instead of letting dead weight drag them down further.
Overall, Undefeated is a soothing pick-me-up record that will instantly put a reassuring smile on your face. Bare Jr.’s genuinely calming voice charmingly complements the band’s upbeat musicianship. From start to finish, this release influences a soothing message to move forward from heartbreak and sorrow with your head up high.
In A Word: Calming