Together, For a Moment: The Grown Ups’ Latest LP is Glorious

I’ve been looking forward to reviewing Together, For a Moment, the third LP from Grown Ups, for a pretty long time now. One might say too long, actually. I heard a few tracks from this album back in March and got excited. And then Grown Ups sent me the whole album back in April, so I could review it when it was released in May. It’s June now … so … well … yikes.

That time has been a chaotic maelstrom of packing and planning, researching and ceaselessly traveling, juggling endless stacks of paperwork and cardboard boxes (and let’s be honest, way too many guitar cases). One kid is graduating high school and the other is finishing pre-school. I’m getting ready to deliver a speech at Benny Fiacco’s Wall of Fame induction. With so much going on, I feel like this website and I have only been together, for a moment lately. Every time I think I have time to get some writing in someone needs a dozen documents, or some new challenge pops up with the new house we’re buying, or something on our schedule collides with something else.

The good news? I’m finally catching up, and pouring through the huge backlog of articles we should’ve published forever ago. Expect lots of reviews in the next few weeks. And kicking off this resurgence of liberated writing time with a review of a (nearly) new LP from one of the Binghamton music scene’s most absurdly talented music acts, Grown Ups? I couldn’t have asked for a better project to get back into the swing of things.

Together, For a Moment showcases Grown Ups’ immense musical talent

I always get excited to talk about Grown Ups or review a new release from them. This is a nine-piece group with an absolutely absurd amount of musical talent. And they’re really an amalgamation of the ideas we so often refer to by our namesake. It’s indie rock from the Preservation Hall. It’s wonderfully retro but also perfectly modern. It works in Brooklyn and it works in Toronto, and it hails from a city between them. Grown Ups showcase all of the best qualities of the Parlor City Sound we hope to propel with this occasionally-underserved website.

Like their earlier releases, Together, For a Moment serves up plenty of sonic diversity, the sort you can only really get with intricate instrumentalism buoyed up by a world-class horn section. It’s a heavy sound, and by that, I mean it’s layered and depthful and intricate. As opposed to the other, more common type of “heavy”—loud and fast and aggressive. There’s a lot going on here musically, and you’re sure to hear something new each time you give it a listen.

Every member of this band is outrageously gifted musically. Reeve Longcoy, whom I personally rank amongst the all-time great bass players from this area, full stop. Chris James’ guitar playing is flawless, surgical, and adaptive. Mike Micha and Ty Whitbeck create a wonderfully intricate backdrop of tight and technical percussion. Tim O’Brien, Justin Miller, and Dave Pond are the most formidable horn section this city has seen since the days of Yolk. Ty McHugh uses his keys to fill out every nook and cranny of this sound with atmosphere and detail. And Oliver Kammerman delivers perfect indie vocals to these brilliantly human lyrics. It all works together with jaw-dropping musical precision.

Together, For a Moment opens with Running and Drifting

I’ve been on a big “modern retro” kick lately. Lots of Monophonics, White Denim, Kikagaku Moyo, Vulfpeck, a little Low Cut Connie sprinkled in … my recent playlists have a certain “this belongs on vinyl” quality. And Together, For a Moment is an album that fits into that sound like water fits into a cup.

The opening track, Running, conjures up two bands I’ve mentioned before in reference to Grown Ups: Sloan, one of my favorite Toronto bands, and the aforementioned kings of modern psychedelic soul, Monophonics, a band that really needs to visit Binghamton on a future tour. This track is lively and well-paced, with tight rhythms, funky guitar, and punchy, out-in-front horns. And this isn’t a walking bass line. Reeve Longcoy is playing hopscotch all over the fretboard, and it’s a lovely game that lasts the whole album.

Drifting is the song I was looking forward to hearing on this album the most. If Running is more reminiscent of Monophonics, Drifting is definitely more in line with Sloan, and another Toronto band I’ve mentioned in previous Grown Ups articles, Broken Social Scene. This rhymically-charged track is bright and smooth, with what I would argue is some of Kammerman’s best singing to date—which I suppose isn’t saying much, since everything he sings is excellent. This is a single-worthy indie purism track with a lot of heart and warmth, and it might be my favorite track on Together, For a Moment if it weren’t for the last song on the album, which we’ll get to a bit later.

Turn Back Time, Funny Thing Is, and I Got Mine

The third song, Turn Back Time, sees Abandoned Studios’ Michael Micha delivering an energetic surf rock beat that shoves this track into high gear. I’ve not heard this song live, but I imagine this is a massive crowd-pleaser given the energy and intricacy at play in the studio version. And I adore how the opening to Funny Thing Is feels like a big finish for Turn Back Time. If you’re listening to the album in its entirety (and you really, definitely should), that transition is incredibly savorable.

Funny Thing Is features a jazzier, funkier sound than the three tracks prior on Together, For a Moment. The verses boast a hard-hitting funky groove that pair up wonderfully with the chipper riff-driven sound of the choruses. And this track serves as a dissertation on my theory that this horn section is otherworldly. Funny Thing Is flourishes in a big, beautiful way as the track wraps up.

I Got Mine keeps that jazzy, funky theme from Funny Thing Is, but ramps it up into a calypso or zydeco territory thanks to mind-boggling percussion from Ty Whitbeck that literally made me shout some colorful language, in the best way possible, when I first heard it. The horns are on fire, the guitar is flawless … this is one of those tracks I can’t just listen to once. I’ll finish it, and it’s instantly getting played again.

Once Everything is Burning, Your Life in Pictures, and Flicker

Once Everything is Burning is another single-worthy track that carves its own standout groove, pairing an indie rock tempo with soulful singing and loads of atmosphere from yet another impeccably talented bandmate, Devin Thai. Kammerman’s singing and James’ guitar playing left me trying to come up with a reference to the Great Chicago Fire or Emperor Nero that didn’t come across too tacky, but I burned myself out on it (I’m a dad. I’m legally obligated to make these terrible puns).

The seventh track, Your Life in Pictures, is probably the best introductory track to the overarching sound and style of Grown Ups. If you’ve heard any of this band’s music, you can pull pretty much any one-second clip from this track and instantly know it’s them. It’s a beautiful, robust track with a deep and colorful energy that sweeps you up in the moment Kammerman expresses lyrically.

Flicker is yet another track that could very easily be made into a single. There’s an indie pop vibe stitched into Grown Ups’ otherwise impregnable wall of sound, but that Broken Social Scene parallel is very easy to draw here, too. This is a depthful, elevated indie sound that’s driven even further by some of Chris James’ best guitar work.

Together, For a Moment Closes out with an absolute stunner of a ballad

And then we come to the ninth and final track, As It Turns to Night. It’s the longest on the album, clocking in at nine and a half well-spent minutes. That’s typically considered too long to make it as a single, but make no mistake, this is one of the best songs Growns Ups have ever written. You frankly can’t sum this song up with a single word, unless that word is masterpiece. Even after nearly ten minutes, you just don’t want this track to end. It takes you someplace beautiful and makes you feel so connected, so comfortable, so at home.

The groove here is slow and steady, with a rarified ballad energy that a lot of bands don’t even attempt, as it’s just so difficult to land well. You can’t sit down and write something like this on paper. It’s less a farm and more a personal garden. You need to get down low, feel through the soil and touch the roots. And if that’s not exactly what Grown Ups did to write this track, I’ll eat a shoe.

As It Turns to Night maintains a steady and somber rhythm that allows Oliver Kammerman to connect with us lyrically in a deep and meaningful way, and then utterly explodes in this stunning bouquet that would be criminal to simply call a “build up.” There’s so much more to it than that. It’s sort of like what Weezer did with Only in Dreams, only with leagues of greater depth and substance. This is a track that put my fancy Bose headphones through their paces … and then did it again. And again. And again.

Together, For a Moment is available now!

Together, For a Moment was released back in May. And having only just gotten around to hearing it now, I’m a bit bummed that I was sitting on this excellent album for months and couldn’t really carve out the free time to sit and enjoy it. So if you haven’t already given it a listen, don’t make the same mistake I did. Head over to Spotify or Apple Music and make the time to experience this brilliant album as soon as you can.

Be sure to also check out Loved So Bad, an EP featuring Grown Ups and long-time collaborator Alyssa Crosby. 2024 has been a big year for Grown Ups, and I can’t wait to see where they take us musically in the future.

Together, For a Moment is the latest LP from Grown Ups, one of the most astonishing bands to come out of the Binghamton music scene in recent years.