Living On Love
In the End
It'd be far from accurate to credit Beachwood Sparks for inventing the harmony-laden West Coast sound that was actually born somewhere between The Beach Boys and The Byrds. But ever since the Sparks first infused those bygone Golden State tones with contemporary indie rock back in the mid-'90s, many groups—from The Thrills to Fleet Foxes—have followed to create a subgenre. The sophomore set from the L.A. band Family of the Year fits comfortably in this pocket. With jangly guitars, sunny melodies, lyrical references to Joshua Tree, and sibling-sung vocal harmonies, “The Stairs” opens 2012’s Loma Vista like a magical hybrid of The Shins and The Mamas & the Papas. A romantic swagger in the vocal performance of brothers Joseph and Sebastian Keefe gives the following “Diversity” a Bob Welch–era Fleetwood Mac feel. “St. Croix” shows more originality as the brothers Keefe give those sun-soaked harmonies some gospel flavor. “Hero” strips down the band's sound to a “Landslide”-style acoustic guitar ballad that features Joseph Keefe singing his most intimate lyrics. “Find It” closes with similarly refined beauty.