Larsen University evolved out the collaboration of two brothers, singer/songwriter Steve Larsen and author/producer Michael Larsen and has extended to include other family members and friends. Driving their band is a passion for memorable melodies and meaningful lyrics, especially as it translates into their desire to create a better world.
Listening to the single “The Kings of California”, is like falling for the understated, reserved geek over the out-and-out glossy heartthrob: the passion might take longer to erupt, but when it does it’s all the more intense, for you feel like you’ve discovered something that others simply don’t see.
I can’t describe how good it is. There could be simple comparisons to David Gray, Jack Johnson, or other songwriters, but comparisons don’t tell how artful this track, or Larsen University, really is. To get anywhere close to how this band may sound, you need to meld the above-mentioned singer-songwriters and then mix in heavy doses of The Mamas and Papas, as well as a full helping of the Beach Boys.
If you’re really interested in hearing a more intense and original acoustic sound with soaring vocals and clean harmonies in 2016, Larsen University is the artist you’ve been looking for. They have a diverse collection of songs that will send your heart racing or will entrance you into a sweet, happy slumber.
“The Kings of California” is almost able to do both – with verses that will cuddle you with warmth and verses that will uplift your spirits higher than it’s even been.
The lyrics and the emotion coming out of the vocals on this track are amazing throughout the whole song. It’s also one of those tracks that make you think what it’s about, even though the melody is so captivating, you’ll often find yourself humming along and forgetting the words.
Larsen University rides a similar alt-folk soundwave currently being popularized by the likes of The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons – lots of pure, raw melody, and plenty of organic instrumentation. They differentiate themselves, however, by the fact that they sound less ‘hipster’ and ‘retro’ and more ‘old school’ and ‘authentic’.
I’m not sure if that statement makes absolute sense to you, the reader, but it is fundamental to me, in understanding the creative core of any artist. It tells me if they have more ideals or more ideas inside their heads and hearts, or in the case of Larsen University, an ample dose of both.
Steve and Michael Larsen obviously care passionately about this planet and how it works (malfunctions?) in all of it facets, as it comes shining through their music and lyrics. Take the opportunity to sample some of their music. There’s a good chance you won’t regret it. A good place to start might just be “The Kings of California”.