When Carl Rutherford, who plays guitar and background vocals for New York Tourists, visited America’s most exciting city in 2008, his band was unofficially christened.
The group, which comprises five men from Blackburn, England, quickly rose to success. Along with Rutherford, Gary Taylor provides the vocals, Matt Fox plays bass, Graham Anderson is on guitar, and Lewis Lovett plays the drums.
New York Tourists Breaking the Mold
Don’t let their initials confuse you. This NYT is not The New York Times.
New York Tourists are not part of the establishment, for starters. (The real “for-starters” point is that New York Tourists are from England and The Times is quintessentially American, but it’s really too obvious to mention.) New York Tourists are so alternative that they’ve been compared to Queens of the Stone Age and Foals.
They also headlined the Alternative Stage at Blackburn Festival a year after (2013) their debut EP was released, and they’ve been on a roll since. Another critical factor to distinguish New York Tourists from the establishment is that New York Tourists needed a successful Kickstarter campaign to produce You + Me, the album reviewed here.
While the original NYT is potentially on the decline, or at least at a plateau, New York Tourists are just starting out, on the up-rise, are not even close to reaching their peak.
You + Me a Strong Release
You + Me, in my opinion, supports this observation. The album is another entry on what will surely be a long list of successful endeavors by New York Tourists. I found myself enjoying the album increasingly with each song.
The album has several tracks that give them a bit of an emo vibe, and my emo days are far behind me. “Colours,” for example, talks about “injecting life in my body.” It’s too graphic for my taste and I didn’t like the strong feelings of angst. Similarly, “Fear” is quite lyrically dark: “Do you fear anything when the darkness is creeping in?” Taylor asks. Other songs feel lighter and more energetic, which I appreciate. It indicates that New York Tourists understand the need to make albums musically diverse.
You+ Me is filled with complex lyrics and high caliber guitar playing. (Serious shout-out to Anderson.) Although there are a few songs that are a little sinister for my taste, I understand the purpose behind certain decisions New York Tourists made. In a couple particular songs about love, the sounds are not romantic, nor do they suggest feelings of affection; rather, they are filled with turmoil. These songs require the listener to take a deeper look into the lyrics and interpret them independently. But the way the music and lyrics interact, really throughout the entire album, creates several interesting and perhaps ironic combinations, which is great.
“Kick in Teeth” is one of the best songs on the album. I felt as though I were suddenly listening to the Raconteurs (and to compare a band’s sound to anything with Jack White is quite a compliment). NYT sped up the normal pace of their lyrics and inspired me to check that my player hadn’t skipped to another artist. Again, this speaks to the band’s versatility and musical range.
“Sirens,” however, is my favorite song on You + Me. It has a different sound from everything else on the album and paints a beautiful portrait of city life. The lyrics are poetic: “Sirens in a city” truly combines the mythical with the concrete.
You can, and should, listen to NYT’s latest album, You + Me, here.