By Conner Jensen
You Won’t is an unlikely duo with a dynamic rock n’ roll sound comprised of the guitar stylings of Josh Arnoudse backed with the percussion of Raky Sastri. The two have known each other since 1999 and since have continued to closely collaborate, but it wasn’t until 2012 that listeners saw a full-length album from them. However, since the release of Skeptic Goodbye the group has gotten their fair share in the limelight with performances with The Lumineers, Deer Tick and a spot on Last Call with Carson Daly. The band has now released a second album entitled Revolutionaries, which reflects on the two men’s lives, both in their childhood as well as the failures they had to overcome in adulthood.
The album begins with “Untitled 2,” a 30-second piece made up of obscure electronic sounds. They have a slight ambiguity about them, which sets the tone for this album. As the introductory song fades, not a beat is skipped as a bagpipe, the strumming of a guitar and quick-yet-lighthearted drumming bursts in to begin “Friends in Exile.” The bagpipes fade in and out as the verses begin, and let the blend of the drums and guitars dominate the melody for a short period. After a second verse and the refrain, an instrumental severs the pattern with a highly modified electric sound coming out of the guitar. These elements blend together to make a very upbeat and punky song that showcases the talent of the duo.
“No Divide” takes a slower start than the previous song, with light systematic drumming primarily on the snare and a high-pitched tinkering on the piano. This song has a more lighthearted tone to it, with more of a sense of unity rather than distance. This song also proves as a bit of a showcase of the singing talent in this group. Through the blending of the two’s instruments as well as some outlandish sound effects, this song serves as the final hook to get the listener to stick around. With a steady tambourine “Ya Ya Ya” begins. While this song is at the same pace as the previous, it has a more somber tone to it, driven primarily by the lyrics. The tambourine serves as a refreshing addition to the melody that serves to bring variation, which seems to be a major focus in this duo’s music. They manage to churn out music that surpasses the ability of most duets and could compete with full-sized bands, showing that size really doesn’t always matter.
After some strange closing sounds, “The Fuzz” begins. The group gets in touch with their surfer-boy side with a very 60s summertime guitar melody that serves as the backboard of the song. The fluttery drumming blends nicely into the overall sound of the guitar, creating their unique brand of surf rock. As they approach the chorus, the melody speeds up and showcases the musical ability of the group rather than the vocal ability before slowing down into near silence, with instruments swinging in and out. Soon, the guitar picks up lightly as the verse is sung, then the chorus explodes in with unbridled rock n’ roll fury before drawing to a close. “Invocation” begins with an eerie howling sound, like that of the wind, to preface the song with ambiguity. The guitar soon enough joins in with the howls playing in a low octave and strumming at a fairly high tempo. The combination of the verse and the howling sound in the back are almost overwhelming to the listener, which could be the desired effect or just a lapse in judgment. Fortunately, this song is more of an intermission between songs, lasting only a minute before building into “Jesus Sings.”
Starting right as the previous song ends, “Jesus Sings” begins with the low-toned strumming of a guitar and the common percussion stylings on the snare drum. This song takes on a slightly country sound to it, while still staying true to the group’s unique interpretation to rock. This song utilizes instrumentals to break apart the verses rather than a chorus, which allows the duo to showcase their instrumental talent more than they have thus far, including the bagpipes and other instruments that have been present prior. If you have doubted the talent of the two yet, this song will clear all doubt. “Untitled One,” like “Untitled Two,” is an instrumental interlude into the following song. This instrumental has more noticeable sounds in it than the previous, but all in all, it’s just an obscure transition into “Trampoline.” A shimmery sound of chimes begins this song before the keyboard joins in with a low drawn-out melody accompanied with outlandish sound effects. This song is the slowest seen thus far in the work, and has the strongest tone of reflection, bringing the mood back into more of melancholy with a retelling of some cherished memories shared with a significant other.
“1-4-5” quickly changes the pace with the high speed shaking of bells accompanied with the steady clunking of the drum set, blending with the systematic playing on the keyboard. This song helps to contrast the previous, as the lyrics show that the subject is slowly but surely moving past the memories that used to haunt him once. This song is sure to get caught in your head, and I doubt that’s something you’ll curse. “Little Lion” is a bluesy, country style song where the melody is dominated primarily by the steady-yet-slightly modified sound of the electric guitar. As the percussion joins in, however, this song gets a touch of punk rock, making a blend unlike anything you’ve heard before. While the title might remind you of Mumford and Sons, you can’t judge this book by its cover.
With some faded effects that resemble 80s sci-fi lasers, “Douchey” begins. The guitar strumming is fast-paced, mixed with muted notes and regular strums and when the percussion joins in the song takes full form. As if the previous songs built up to this, this song sounds like something you would hear at a country themed restaurant, except the score was written by Green Day. A balanced blend of country and rock n’ roll, this song showcases the creative power of this group, and how the two are not to be trifled with. Due to the storm that just occurred, the duo inserted another interlude, “Untitled 3.” This instrumental begins with a high-speed clicking noise before progressing into a bagpipe dominant melody.
As the shortest of the interludes finish, “Can’t Go Wrong” bursts in. A fast-paced electric guitar serves as the dominant sound in the penultimate song. Through the verses, the strumming of the guitar stays fairly consistent, with the most of the variation in the melody being in background noises that the listener might not even initially notice. The lyrics project the theme of betrayal and longing, which has been a major theme throughout, thus developing the overall mood of the work. The album closes with “Revolutionaries,” which begins with eerie, waning sound effects that slightly resemble a wind instrument. As the rest of the instruments slowly creep in, the verse begins. This song remains slow and reflective, creating a bit of a feeling of closure as the work comes to a close. The ending solidifies the mood of melancholy reflection through the reflective lyrics as well as the uncharacteristically slow melody.
Revolutionaries is truly unlike anything you’ve ever heard, which warrants some serious respects since this group is comprised of only two people, yet make music that puts quartets to shame. If you have the album on repeat, you will notice that the last song will fade into the beginning instrumental, showing the cyclical pattern of life as well just making it all around more enjoyable to listen to over and over again. You Won’t is unlike anything you’ve ever heard, so make sure to experience it for yourself; Listen to Revolutionaries, and try not to lose yourself in it.