SOUVENIR’S YOUNG AMERICA – “The Name Of The Snake” CD ’10 (Init, US) – I can picture it vividly…walking slowly through a forest, a draping canopy of leaves hanging tentatively over my head… the brisk autumn air has not yet gotten to these internal fronds and their summer green remains, only to have begun to feel the chill of the season. As that thought occupies my mind, I round a turn in the trail and I feel the shadows lift as the natural ceiling rises like the hand of a giant, fingers uncurling slowly and I stroll into the clearing. Sunlight bathes my optical reserve as the lush, layered colors of fall unfold in what seems to be both a moment and lifetime. The golden reds, yellows and browns stream into sharp relief on both sides of the gorge in front of me and I sit for a moment near the cliff’s edge, overtaken by both the majesty of the forest from which I've emerged, the magic-like transition and the spectacle now before me. All of this is the same kind of feeling I get when listening to the new record by Richmond VA’s SOUVENIR’S YOUNG AMERICA. Having been familiar (and quite inspired by) this band’s previous offering, 2007’s “An Ocean Without Water,” I was thrilled to find this little gem hiding in the “Various S’s” section of The Soundgarden in Baltimore the other night. I have to say that it was a $9 very well spent. SYA is a band composed of: Ken Rayher – guitars; Jonathan Lee – keyboards, electronics, organs, pianos; Graham Scala – guitars, electronics, acoustic guitar; Patrick DeWit – percussion; Noah Saval – harmonica. That’s pretty easy, to list the line-up and what instruments they play. What’s not so fucking easy is to explain what these cats sound like and that’s why I began this piece the way I did. This is an instrumental band that, through the 4 lengthy songs on this release are not as readily described through particular guitar riffs, snappy choruses or toe-tapping rhythms. More so, as with the landscape above, the vistas of SYA’s music are much easier to describe as layers of color and shaded, draped with melodies of power, beauty and heaviness. Think Pelican or, maybe even more, Across Tundras, replete with the kind of memorability and sign-posts often reserved for much more “accessible” stuff. Each of the 4 numbers here seems interconnected to the others, and yet they still somehow stand on their own, the record finishing incredibly strong with the acoustic-laden shimmer of “Dust (Erasing The Future)” and “Amnesia (A Victor’s History).” This is simply a fantastic and highly-original piece of work, harkening the listener to push “repeat” a shit-load of times without any threat of boredom. It is at once heavy, beautiful and overpowering. The inclusion of 3 additional numbers from the “September Songs” EP is only icing on the proverbial cake! Snakes Alive!