January, 2003

Idaho - We Were Young and Needed the Money
(Idaho Music;

A few months ago, LA-based slow-core-meets-grunge-rock trio, Idaho, released a collection of 17 songs that never quite made their six other albums. Being the proud owner of every one of those six albums, I tested my know-it-all-ness by guessing the year on every song…and failed at almost every attempt. So how could a longtime Idaho fan not recognize what era each song came from? Well, probably because in the decade Idaho has existed, not much has changed. Sure, the earlier years were marked with a more carefree angst and a simpler three-piece-band structure while the later years crouched lower behind the curtain with more intricate guitar feedback and electronic knick-knacks. But in every album, there’s always been a little of all those elements, including frontman Jeff Martin’s gorgeous tired voice that succeeds in not making a comparison to the likes of Tom Waits. Listeners who felt that rockier songs like “Pomegranate Bleeding” were some of Idaho’s best work will appreciate the grunge nostalgia of the first half of We Were Young…while the latter half of the album really could have fit in any era. Which leaves us to wonder: Is the album-title the reason why these songs weren’t released back then, an apology for these songs, or should the tense perhaps be changed to the present? We hope it’s the first.

—Delphine Hwang

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