After three previous albums, the Colorado based band that refers to itself as FY5 — the “F” and”Y” refer to the last names of the group’s two principals, singer, guitarist and songwriter Mike Finders, and bassist, vocalist Erin Youngberg — has carved out a specific niche that lends potential to the possibilities of someday developing a fervent following. While their relationship to bluegrass is ensured through their instrumentation — banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and high lonesome harmonies are a pertinent part of their sound — it’s also evident that the group follows a mainstream mantra. Their songs boast feelings of both reflection and resolve, as well as sentiment and assurance. Unlike some bands that attempt to pierce certain parameters, there’s no hint of posturing or pretence, simply a desire to indulge some wistful desire and allow for a sound that’s abundantly entertaining.
As a result, The Way These Things Go boasts a vibe that’s vibrant and yet unhurried, easily accessible even on first encounter. The rambling tones of Co,uer d’ Alene, the jaunty pacing of Even If You Never Call Me Back and That First Stone, the sway and serenade of Waitress’ Waltz and the upbeat eagerness of No Other Heart’s As True As Mine all attest to the fact that FY5 clearly aim for ultimate accessibility. I’ve Been In Love Before offers the only example of a more stoic stance, but considering subject at hand, that resolve is also understandable.
Of course it takes a certain discipline to keep the melodies in check. Aaron Youngberg’s sweep of pedal steel guitar on the overtly yearning That’s Why I Don’t Sing Love Songs Anymore frames the song decidedly, but never attempts to seize the spotlight. Likewise, Ryan Drickey’s fiddle and Rich Zimmerman’s mandolin always find a nice fit while avoiding any sort of showboating or even an especially prominent presence.
Ultimately, this is a fine example of roots music of a particular pedigree, a sound that’s far from rustic but still bearing a certain reverence for it regardless. That makes The Way These Things Go an outstanding example of just how good things can be when it all goes right.