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March 28th, 2007 Amy Mccullough | Riff City
 

We are family

How Foureveryoung's family ties allow it to cut the crap.

     
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THE BROTHERS YOUNG: From left—Dillon, Dustin, Ritchie and Michael.
IMAGE: Will Murphy
When Foureveryoung—the musical project of Loch Lomond's Ritchie Young and his three younger brothers—first booked a show at Mississippi Studios, owner Jim Brunberg said, "I'm not gonna check this out." He thought Foureveryoung was a Rod Stewart cover band; he was quite wrong.

Foureveryoung is the amalgamation of Ritchie, Dustin, Michael and Dillon Young, four brothers from Bend, Ore., who now live within blocks of each other in what's essentially the "Young compound" of Sellwood. Besides 32-year-old Ritchie's folk-pop outfit Loch Lomond, Dustin, 29, records intense folk (think the National plus banjo) as Ithacamoon; Michael, 22, contributes keys, vocals and drums to ambient hip-hop project Hurtbird; and Dillon, 20, creates experimental acoustic music as Diabetic Elf.

And Foureveryoung's eclectic sound easily reflects this broad range of influences. On Young Family Sitcom, the band's '06 debut, tracks range from spacey soundscapes to hip-hop-inspired drumming with atmospheric keys and dashes of glockenspiel; on "Birthdays Are What They Used To Be," for instance, the Youngs eerily sing "I can breathe" over and under and with one another in a ghostly round. But, as Dustin explains, "If it doesn't have a cool melody, it just kind of passes over us."

The whole family agrees that its musical interests started with Ritchie, who began playing drums in junior high. Now, says Ritchie, "We just play what we can play the best with each other. We're not amazing musicians or anything." But Dustin and Ritchie do mention that their grandfather and his three brothers sang and played music together: "We have this really cool recording...it was like Christmas of '42 or something, and they were all drinking and singing," recounts Ritchie. Dustin chimes in, "The cool part is that they were able to sit down and play like 20 songs together. [There's] so much music now, it's so spread out, that [people] can't really sit down as a culture and just play." But despite the likelihood of sibling tiffs, these four brothers can.

"[We] just have this weird connection," says Dustin, "If we enter into [it] trying to focus on not getting at each other's throats, we're able to communicate well." Ritchie agrees, explaining that family ties take some standard inter-band politics out of the equation: "I've been in my fair share of bands," he says, "and if you're sick of it, [you're] like, 'Fuck it. I'm gonna leave.' You can't really do that with us."

Though they all admit that Foureveryoung is a "horrible," "corny" band name, Ritchie believes it keeps things light. "Our No. 1 goal is to have fun," he says, and Foureveryoung's music embodies that notion. "What I really like about Foureveryoung is that we all have the same vocal range, for the most part, and it kind of sounds like one person on four tracks," explains Ritchie. "It's kinda creepy and also really fun." Inadvertently recalling the band's name, Dustin agrees: "Any of the bands we're doing right now may fade, but hopefully we'll be able to play together forever."


Foureveryoung plays Wednesday, March 28, with Day of Lions and Maria Taylor at the Doug Fir. 9 pm $8. 21+.
 
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