Mean Creek: Youth Companion (Old Flame) 

Boston's Mean Creek play a bold and exciting guitar rock that recalls both '90s alternative and '80s post-punk.

The band—Chris Keene and Aurore Ounjian on both vocals and guitar, Erik Wormwood on bass, and Mikey Holland on drums—has been around since 2006, winning best-of-Boston awards regularly, with an energy and edginess that leans toward big hooks and the dual vocalist style of the Pixies.

Youth Companion, the band's third album, wears its heart on its sleeve. It not only celebrates youth, but also casts a wise eye toward its quick passing. In the back-to-back "Young and Wild" and "Indian Summer," the message becomes forcefully clear: The songs are romantic and nostalgic odes to adventure and discovery.

"Come on, Before It's Gone" takes the same tack, weaving terrific guitar solos with that sing-along "come on" chorus. It's a little of the Replacements tied to a bit of the New Jersey rock of the Gaslight Anthem or Springsteen.

"Evel Knievel" is another winner, the driving bass line setting the stage before giving way to a wall of echoing guitars. And in equating youth to the urges of a daredevil, Keene's soaring vocals make those teenage years seem noble and brave.

Youth Companion wouldn't have sounded out of place 25 years ago, yet it brings a fresh new voice to alternative rock. It's time for Boston to share.


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