Youth Group /// Picnic Lightning

If, in fact, “the world is your oyster,” then we would all be swimming in opulent pearls. Unfortunately, youthful optimism is often stunted by the looming, decrepit cynicism of elders who have been there and have never made it. Fort Worth, Texas based indie rock band, Picnic Lightning, have released “Youth Group,” which is a poetically veiled takedown of living in someone else’s wasteland of broken dreams. With a simmering angst built upon a country rock meets indie melody, Picnic Lightning embroils itself in the age-old topic of progress versus stagnation.

For the most part, the sound developed on “Youth Group” is under the radar. Immediately, it doesn’t want to make any waves and only wants to ride along with an easy going vibe. It captures both ends of the generational spectrum down to a tee. The older folks don’t want anything to change versus the youth who are searching for their own calm space in life. Until it kicks up a fuss in the chorus sections, “Youth Group” is content with being mellowed out.

Lead singer Cole Watkins’ wiry vocals add a distinct weariness to a song about the endless tug of war of generations. The imagery of “pilgrims,” whether they are “easy bake” or “old head,” brings to mind wanting to leave behind the tyranny of an old world in order to start anew. However, those pilgrims end up forgetting about “when they used to chill” and become the domineering figure they once fled.  

In addition, “Youth Group” evokes the setting of a type of rundown badlands. It’s not the “promised land” that they were sold when they were young. Instead of a new gilded age, they are stuck in the muck of a “bilge water age.” Being repelled by the sour stench of a stagnant pool is a fitting metaphor for wanting a fresh start.

Written by Travis Boyer

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