The Young and the Naive is one of those bands that makes you realize how bad you probably were at writing songs when you were their age. I don't officially know how old they were when this was recorded but I would imagine the trio was under the age of 20 all around. Consisting of a compositionally minded pianist with brutally honest and relatable lyrics, an exceptional fingerpicking guitar player with an ear for what made the Velvet Underground so good, and a vocalist with a voice as unique and beautiful as the snow capped Rockies which birthed this nugget of musical genius. This band was wise beyond their years and it shows immensely from the meticulously arranged vocal harmonies to the intelligently executed baroque-indie sound that oozes through on most tracks. "Sticks and Stones" is also a standout track for me, sounding much like Dylan picking along to 19 year old singing his heart out about the weight of the realizations of the human condition. I remember seeing the band play the opening track, "Big Rock," before this came out. I was accustomed to the band being centered around the piano and acoustic guitar so this heavy drone rock song coming at me was about the coolest leap I could imagine these folks taking. I talked with Gabe about the song after the set and complimented him on it. I could be wrong, but I think he said something about how he had recently learned that Lou Reed had tuned all of his guitar strings to D for a song and he wanted to emulate that. I felt so ashamed that when I was Gabe's age I would have had no idea who Lou Reed was, let alone be influenced by him.
The self fulfilling nature of the band's name kind of sums up the whole experience for me. They couldn't have been THAT naive to name themselves something so obvious, but the fact that something so powerfully honest and moving was being made by kids still in high school gave me some sort of renewed hope for humanity. Sure Minor Threat were high schoolers and plenty of great punk rock was born that way, but rarely do people that age have such a well tuned ear for what makes a great composition and the ability to execute those ideas in such a unique way as this.