ICYMI: May Be Fern debut Album Kicks Ass

May Be Fern’s debut album, Okay Grandma, Your Turn, released in mid-March, screams comfort: in themselves, their roles in the band, and most certainly their sound — vast, freeing and effortlessly confident. The project, birthed just a year and some change from May Be Fern’s formation, is content in its own skin. Perhaps that’s intentional. More simply (and likely), it’s a byproduct of a group whose sound fosters a feeling, whether it’s on stage or in the studio — for the genre-bending four-piece, for their fans, and for anyone looking for a reason to express themselves in this vibrant artistic scene we lay claim to. It’d be easy to continue waxing poetic about their impressive first project, but the cliff notes are this: May Be Fern’s debut album kicks ass.

Lady Bass” kicks things off in a fuzzy, uptempo gear. Kate Fern ushers in her bandmates with low, mean bass chords, allowing for drummer Carleen Jeffers and guitarist Madi Spillman to rip the album open with a bang. Hannah May plays the keys at the forefront without splitting up the musical synergy already formed in just a half minute. Her vocals are strong and resonating. Like a single-shot intro in a film or a gripping prologue, May Be Fern has you hooked before you can settle into your earbuds. It hits you like a headrush after a massive bong rip, knocking you on your ass. All you want to do is stand back up and dance, a feeling I get when I listen to The Breeder’s colossal record, “Cannonball.” 

Top to bottom, the album melds various sounds together seamlessly. This first reveals itself when “Stormy” begins. The track holds the beautifully, glossy sound of new wave music, far different from its predecessor, but soon reveals itself as a bridge between the intro and the back half of “Stormy,” when, at the two-and-a-half minute mark, the band hops back into the excitement of “Lady Bass.” “Shakey Wakey Down” is the project’s grooviest record, on that’s satisfyingly familiar, — floating somewhere between Goose and Big Head Todd and The Monsters  — straddling the line of jam and groove, yet remaining sharply original. May does her thing on this track’s outro, splitting Spillman’s euphoric guitar sequence down the middle with a descending arpeggio. It’s a brilliant moment on one of the project’s many highlights. 

Fern and May continue a song-to-song hot streak with strong, pleading vocals on “I Can’t Cry.” Then, the band leans a little further into their groovy sound on  “Jack Jones” and “Maggie Jane.” Sure, it’s a Colorado-centric sound, but something fresh and new is happening here. You can hear the fun the must’ve band had recording this linked pair of tracks. It’s truly infectious.

COLOR ME STOKED,” the album’s outro, is a fitting bookend opposite to “Lady Bass.” It’s also one of Okay Grandma, Your Turn’s strongest moments, start to finish.

On this one, Jeffers glows behind their drum kit. They let loose — crashing cymbals and punchy toms ooze through the speakers. Throughout this project, Fern and Jeffers provide an invaluable backbone to May Be Fern’s sound. Bass and drums tend to do that, but when presented in harmony and played with such synchronization, it’s a match made in heaven. 

Catch May Be Fern at Two Bears Tap and Grill, just outside Idaho Springs, on June 10th, and at Ride The Rockies in Estes Park on June 12th. In the city, they’ll be rocking at Squire Lounge on Colfax on July 8th, and on July 26th, they’ll headline the iconic Evergreen Lake House. 

Check out May Be Fern’s website for updates on shows and new music here